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ALEXANDER t1AJ0R5t1E[1(15 

.*» 4 







Seventy Years on the Frontier 


OF A. 

Lifetime on the Border 






The Western Miner and Financier 

Copyright, 1893, by Rand, McNally & Co. 

Seventy Years on the Frontier 







Alexander Majors. 






Preface, by Buffalo Bill 9 

Note to Reader — 13 


I. Reminiscences of Youth 15 

II. Missouri in Its Wild and Uncultivated 

State - 25 

III. A Silver Expedition 3 2 

IV. The Mormons 43 

V. The Mormons' Mecca 63 

VI. My First Venture - 7 1 

VII. Faithful Friends. 78 

VIII. Our War with Mexico 85 

IX. Doniphan's Expedition 90 

X. The Pioneer of Frontier Telegraphy 99 

XI. An Overland Outfit 102 

XII. Kit Carson - 107 

XIII. Adventures of a Trapper 119 

XIV. Trapping --- 125 

XV. An Adventure with Indians... 128 

XVI. Crossing the Plains 137 

XVII. "The Jayhawkers of 1849" 15° 

XVIII. Mirages ---- 157 

XIX. The First Stage into Denver 164 

XX. TheGoldFever 168 

XXI. The Overland Mail 173 

XXII. The Pony Express and Its Brave Riders. 182 





XXIII. The Battle of the Buffaloes 194 

XXIV. The Black Bear '. 201 

XXV. TheBeaver 215 

XXVI. A Boy's Trip Overland 221 

XXVII. The Denver of Early Days 228 

XXVIII. The Denver of To-day and Its Environs. 232 

XXIX. Buffalo Bill from Boyhood to Fame 243 

XXX. The Platte Valley . 247 

XXXI. Kansas City before the War 253 

XXXII. The Graves of Pioneers 258 

XXXIII. Silver Mining 267 


As there is no man living who is more thoroughly com- 
petent to write a book of the Wild West than my life-long 
friend and benefactor in my boyhood, Alexander Majors, 
there is no one to whose truthful words I would rather 
accept the honor of writing a preface. 

An introduction to a book of Mountain and Plain by 
Mr. Majors certainly need hardly be written, unless it be to 
refer to the author in a way that his extreme modesty will 
not permit him to speak of himself, for he is not given to 
sounding his own praise, being a man of action rather than 
words, and yet whose life has its recollections of seventy 
years upon the frontier, dating to a period that tried men's 
souls to the fullest extent, and when daring deeds and 
thrilling adventures were of every-day occurrence. Remem- 
brance of seventy years of life in the Far West and amid 
the Rocky Mountains! 

What a world of thought this gives rise to, when we 
recall that a quarter of a century ago there was not a rail- 
road west of the Missouri River, and every pound of 
freight, every emigrant, every letter, and every message 
had to be carried by wagon or on horseback, and at the 
risk of life and hardships untold. 

The man who could in the face of all dangers and obsta- 
cles originate and carry to success a line of freighter 
wagons, a mail route from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and 
a Pony Express, flying at the utmost speed of a hare 
through the land, was no ordinary individual, as can be well 


understood. And such a man Alexander Majors was. He 
won success; and to-day, on the verge of four score years, 
lives over again in his book the thrilling scenes in his own 
life and in the lives of others. 

Family reverses after the killing of my father in the 
Kansas War, caused me to start out, though a mere boy, 
in 1855 to seek to aid in the support of my mother and sis- 
ters, and it was to Mr. Alexander Majors that I applied for 
a situation. He looked me over carefully in his kindly 
way, and after questioning me closely gave me the place of 
messenger boy, that was, one to ride with dispatches 
between the overland freighters — wagon trains going west- 
ward into the almost unknown wild dump of prairie and 

That was my first meeting with Alexander Majors, and 
up to the present time our friendship has never had a break 
in it, and, I may add, never will through act of mine. 

Having thus shown my claim to a thorough knowledge 
of my distinguished old friend, let me now state that his 
firm was known the country over as Majors, Russell & 
WoddeJl, but it was to Mr. Majors particularly that the 
heaviest duties of organizing and management fell, and he 
never shirked a duty or a danger, as I well remember. 

Severe in discipline, he was yet never profane or harsh, 
and a Christian and temperance man through all; he gov- 
erned his men kindly, and was wont to say that he would 
have no one under his control who would not promptly 
obey an order without it was emphasized with an oath. 
In fact, he had a contract with his men in which they 
pledged themselves not to use profanity, get drunk, gamble, 
or be cruel to animals under pain of dismissal, while good 
behavior was rewarded. Every man, from wagon-boss and 
teamster down to rustler and messenger-boy, seemed anx- 
ious to gain the good will of Alexander Majors and to hold 


it, and to-day he has fewer foes than any one I know, in 
spite of his position as chief of what were certainly a wild 
and desperate lot of men, where the revolver settled all 

It was Mr. Majors' firm that originated and put in the 
Pony Express across the plains and made it the grand 
success it proved to be. 

It was his firm that so long and successfully carried on 
the business of overland freighting in the face of every 
obstacle, and also the Overland Stage Drive between the 
Missouri River and Pacific Ocean, and in his long life on 
the border he has become known to all classes and con- 
ditions of men, so that in writing now his memoirs, no man 
knows better whereof he speaks than he does. 

In each instance where he has written to his old-time 
comrades for data, he has taken only that which he knew 
could be verified, and has thrown out material sufficient to 
double his book in size, where he felt the slightest doubt 
that it could not be relied upon to the fullest extent. 

His work, therefore, is a history of the Wild West, its 
pages authentic, and though many of its scenes are roman- 
tic and thrilling, it is what has hitherto been an unwritten 
story of facts, figures, and reality; and now, that in his 
old age he finds his occupation gone, I feel and hope that 
his memoirs will find a ready sale. 

W. F. CODY, 

"Buffalo Bill." 


In preparing the material of my book, I desire here to 
give justice where justice is due, and express myself as 
under obligations for valuable data and letters, which I 
fully appreciate; and publicly thank for their kindness in 
this direction those whose names follow: 

Col. W. F. Cody ("Buffalo Bill") of Nebraska. 

Col. John B. Colton, Kansas City, Mo. 

Mr. V. DeVinny, Denver, Colo. 

Mr. E. L. Gallatin, Denver, Colo. 

Judge Simonds, Denver, Colo. 

Mr. John T. Rennick, Oak Grove, Mo. 

Mr. Geo. W. Bryant, Kansas City, Mo. 

Mr. George E. Simpson, Kansas City, Mo. 

Mr. John Martin, Denver, Colo. 

Mr. David Street, Denver, Colo. 

Mrs. Nellie Carlisle, Berkeley, Cal. 

Mr. A. Carlisle, Berkeley, Cal. 

Mr. Green Majors, San Francisco, Cal. 

Mr. Ergo Alex. Majors, Alameda, Cal. 

Mr. Seth E. Ward, Westport, Mo. 

Robert Ford, Great Falls, Mont. 

Doctor Case, Kansas City, Mo. 

Benj. C. Majors, May Bell P. O., Colo. 

Prof. Robert Casey, Denver, Colo. 

John Burroughs, Colorado. 

Eugene Munn, Swift, Neb. 

Rev. Dr. John R. Shannon, Denver, Colo. 

Thos. D. Truett, Leadville, Colo. 

Will C. Ferril. 

Yours with respect, 



Seventy Years on the Frontier. 



My father, Benjamin Majors, was a farmer, born in the 
State of North Carolina in 1794, and brought when a boy 
by my grandfather, Alexander Majors, after whom I am 
named, to Kentucky about the year 1800. My grandfather 
was also a farmer, and one might say a manufacturer, for 
in those days nearly all the farmers in America were manu- 
facturers, producing almost everything within their homes 
or with their own hands, tanning their own leather, making 
the shoes they wore, as well as clothing of all kinds. 

My mother's maiden name was Laurania Kelly; her father, 
Beil Kelly, was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and was 
wounded at the battle of Brandywine. 

I was born in 18 14, on the 4th day of October, near 
Franklin, Simpson County, Kentucky, being the eldest of 
the family, consisting of two boys and a girl. When I was 
about five years of age my father moved to Missouri, when 
that State was yet a Territory. I remember well-many of 
the occurrences of the trip; one was that the horses ran 
away with the wagon in which my father, myself, and 
younger brothers were riding. My father threw us chil- 
dren out and jumped out himself, though crippled in one 
foot at the time. One wheel of the wagon was broken to 
pieces, which caused us a delay of two days. 



After crossing the Ohio River, in going through the then 
Territory of Illinois, the settlements were from ten to 
twenty miles apart, the squatters living in log cabins, and 
along one stretch of the road the log cabin settlements 
were forty miles apart. When we arrived at the Okaw 
River, in the Territory of Illinois, we found a squatter in 
his little log cabin whose occupation was ferrying passen- 
gers across the river in a small flatboat which was pro- 
pelled by a cable or large rope tied to a tree on each side 
of the river, it being a narrow but deep stream. The only 
thing attracting my special attention, as a boy, at that 
point was a pet bear chained to a stake just in front of the 
cabin where the family lived. He was constantly jumping 
over his chain, as is the habit of pet bears, especially when 

From this place to St. Louis, a distance of about thirty- 
five miles, there was not a single settlement of any kind. 
When we arrived on the east bank of the Mississippi River, 
opposite the now city of St. Louis, we saw a little French 
village on the other side. The only means of crossing the 
river was a small flatboat, manned by three Frenchmen, 
one on each side about midway of the craft, each with an 
oar with which to propel the boat. The third one stood in 
the end with a steering oar, for the purpose of giving it the 
proper direction when the others propelled it. This ferry 
would carry four horses or a four-horse wagon with its load 
at one trip. These men were not engaged half their time 
in ferrying across the river all the emigrants, with their 
horses, cattle, sheep, and hogs, who were moving from the 
East to the West and crossing at St. Louis. Of course the 
current would carry the boat a considerable distance down 
the river in spite of the efforts of the boatmen to the con- 
trary. However, when they reached the opposite bank the 
two who worked the side oars would lay down their 


oars, go to her bow, where a long rope was attached, take 
it up, put it over their shoulders, and let it uncoil until it 
gave them several rods in front of the boat. Then they 
would start off in a little foot-path made at the water's 
edge and pull the boat to the place prepared for taking on 
or unloading, as the case might be. There they loaded what 
they wanted to ferry to the other side, and the same process 
would be gone through with as before. Reaching the west 
bank of the river we found the village of St. Louis, with 
4,000 inhabitants, a large portion of whom were French, 
whose business it was to trade with the numerous tribes of 
Indians and the few white people who then inhabited that 
region of country, for furs of various kinds, buffalo robes 
and tongues, as this was the only traffic out of which money 
could be made at that time. 

The furs bought of the Indians were carried from St. 
Louis to New Orleans in pirogues or flatboats, which 
were carried along solely by the current, for at that time 
steam power had never been applied to the waters of the 
Mississippi River. Sixty-seven years later, in 1886, I vis- 
ited St. Louis and went down to the wharf or steamboat 
landing, and looking across to East St. Louis, which in 
1 818 was nothing but a wilderness, beheld the river 
spanned by one of the finest bridges in the world, over 
which from 100 to 150 locomotives with trains attached 
were daily passing. Three big steam ferryboats above 
and three below the bridge were constantly employed in 
transferring freight of one kind or another. What a 
change had taken place within the memory of one man! 
While looking in amazement at the great and mighty 
change, a nicely dressed and intelligent man passed by; 
I said to him: 

" Sir, I stood on the other bank of this river when a little 
boy, in the month of October, 1818, when there was no 


improvement whatever over there" (pointing to the east 
shore). I also stated to him that a little flatboat, manned 
by three Frenchmen, was the only means for crossing the 
river at that time. The gentleman took his pencil and a 
piece of paper and figured for a few moments, and then 
turning to me said: "Do you know, sir, those three 
Frenchmen, with their boat, who did all the work of ferry- 
ing, and were not employed half the time, could not, with 
the facilities you speak of, in ioo years do what is now 
being done in one day with our present means of trans- 

Since that time, which was six years ago, another bridge 
has been built to meet the necessities of the increasing 
business of that city, which shows that progress and 
increase of wealth and development are still on the rapid 

The next thing of note, after passing St. Louis, occurred 
one evening after we camped. My mother stepped on the 
wagon-tongue to get the cooking utensils, when her foot 
slipped and she fell, striking her side and receiving inju- 
ries which resulted in her death eighteen months later. 

On that journey my father traveled westward, crossing 
the Missouri River at St. Charles, Mo., following up the 
river from that point to where Glasgow is now situated, 
and there crossed the river to the south side, and wintered 
in the big bottoms. In the spring of 1819 he moved to 
what afterward became La Fayette County, and took 
up a location near the Big Snye Bear River. 

In February, the winter following, my dear mother died 
from the injuries she received from the accident previously 
alluded to. The Rev. Simon Cockrell, a baptist preacher, 
who at that time was over eighty years of age, preached 
her funeral sermon. He was the first preacher I had ever 
seen stand up before a congregation with a book in his 


hand. Although my mother died when I was little more 
than six years of age, my memory of her is apparently as 
fresh and endearing as though her death had occurred but 
a few days ago. Many acts I saw her do, and things I 
heard her say, impressed me with her courage and good- 
ness, and their memory has been a help to me throughout 
the whole career of my long life. No mother ever gave 
birth to a son who loved her more, or whose tender recol- 
lections have been more endearing or lasting than mine. 

I have never encountered any difficulty so great, no 
matter how threatening, that I have not been able to over- 
come fearlessly when the recollection of my dear mother 
and the spirit by which she was animated came to me. 
Even to this day, and I am an old man in my eightieth 
year, I can not dwell long in conversation about her with- 
out tears coming to my eyes. There are no words in the 
English language to express my estimate and appreciation 
of the dear mother who gave me birth and nourishment. 
I would that all men loved and held the memories of their 
mothers more sacred than I think many of them do. One 
of the greatest safeguards to man throughout the meander- 
ings of his life is the love of a father, mother, brother and 
sister, children and friends; it is a great solace and anchor 
to right-thinking men when they may be hundreds and 
thousands of miles away. Love of family begets true 
patriotism in his bosom, for, in my opinion, there is no 
such thing as true patriotism without love of family. 

Returning to the events of 182 1, we had in the neighbor- 
hood of the Snye Bear River a great Indian scare. This 
happened in the month of August, when I was in my 
seventh year, after my father had built a log cabin for him- 
self in that part of the country which afterward became 
Lafayette County, Mo. My mother had died the winter 


before, leaving myself, the eldest, a brother next, and a 
sister little more than two years old. 

Mrs. Ferrins, a settler who lived on the outskirts of the 
little settlement of pioneers, was alone, except for a baby a 
year old. She left the child and went to the spring for 
water. When she had filled her bucket and rose to the top 
of the bank, she imagined she saw Indians. She dropped 
her bucket, ran to the cabin, took the child in her arms, and 
fled with all her might to Thomas Hopper's, the nearest 
neighbor. As soon as she came near enough to be heard, 
she shouted " Indians " at the top of her voice. Polly Hop- 
per, a young girl of seventeen, hearing Mrs. Ferrin shouting 
" Indians," seized a bridle and ran to a herd of horses that 
were near by in the shade of some trees, caught a flea- 
bitten gray bell mare, the leader of the herd, she being 
gentle and easier to catch than the others, mounted the 
animal without saddle, riding after the fashion of men, and 
started to alarm the settlement. 

My father was lying in bed taking a sweat to abate a 
bilious fever. A family living near by were caring for us 
children, and nursing my father in his sickness. My 
brother and I were playing a little distance from the cabin 
when we heard the screams of the woman, shouting " In- 
dians" with every jump the horse made, her hair streaming 
out behind like a banner in the wind. We were on the 
very outside boundary of the settlement, and some signs of 
Indians had been discovered a few days previous by some 
neighbors who were out hunting for deer. This fact had 
been made known to the little settlement, and the day this 
scare took place had been selected for the men to meet at 
Henry Rennick's to discuss ways and means for building a 
stockade for the protection of their families in case the 
Indians should .make an attempt of a hostile nature. So 
the first thoughts of the families at home were to start for 


Rennick's, where the men were. This accounts for the 
young woman going by our house, as she had to pass our 
cabin to reach that place. My father, sick as he was, 
jumped out of bed when she passed giving the alarm, took 
a heavy gun from the rack, hung his shot pouch over his 
shoulder, took my little sister in his arms, and, like the rest, 
started for Rennick's, my little brother and I toddling along 
behind him. 

A family living near by, consisting of the mother, Mrs. 
Turner, two daughters, a son, and a little grandson, also 
started for Rennick's. They would run for a short dis- 
tance, and then stop and hide in the high weeds until they 
could get their breath. The old lady had a small dog she 
called Ging. He was on hand, of course, and just as much 
excited as all the rest of the dogs in the neighborhood, and 
the people themselves. The screams of the girl Polly 
Hopper, and the ringing of the bell on the animal she was 
riding, aroused the dogs to the highest pitch of excitement. 
In those days dogs were a necessity to the frontiersman for 
his protection, and as much of a necessity on that account 
as any other animal he possessed, and consequently every 
settler owned from three to five dogs, and some more. 
They were the watch-guards against Indians and prowling 
beasts, both by night and day, and could not have been 
dispensed with in the settling of the frontier. 

To return to our trip to Rennick's: When the old lady 
and her flock would run into the weeds to hide and regain 
their breath, this little dog Ging could not be controlled, 
for bark he would. The old lady when angry would use 
"cuss words," and she used them on this dog, and would 
jump out of her hiding-place and start on the trail again. 
Of course when the dog barked he exposed her hiding- 
place. They would run a little farther, and when their breath 
would fail, they would make another hiding in the weeds, 


but would scarcely get settled when the dog would begin 
his barking again. The old lady, with another string of 
"cuss words," would jump out of the weeds and try the 
trail again a short distance. This was repeated until they 
reached Rennick's almost prostrate, as the distance was 
considerably over a mile, and the day an exceedingly hot 
one about noon. My father, though sick, was more fortu- 
nate with his little group of children. When he felt about 
to faint, he would turn with us into the high weeds and sit 
there quietly, and, not having any dog with us to report our 
whereabouts, we were completely hidden by the high weeds, 
and had a hundred Indians passed they would not have 
discovered our hiding-place. 

In due time we arrived safe at Rennick's, and strange 
to say, my father was a well man, and did not go to bed 
again on account of the fever. 

When Polly Hopper reached Rennick's and ran into the 
crowd, she was in a fainting condition. The men took her 
off the horse, laid her on the ground, and administered cold 
water and other restoratives. She soon regained con- 
sciousness and strength, and of course was regarded as a 
heroine in the neighborhood after that memorable day. 
One can well imagine the excitement among the men 
whose families were at home and exposed, as they thought, 
to the mercies of the savages. They scattered immedi- 
ately toward their homes as rapidly as their horses would 
carry them, fearing they might find their families mur- 
dered. For hours after we reached Rennick's there con- 
tinued to be arrivals of women and children, many times 
in a fainting condition, and all exhausted from the fright, 
the heat, and the speed at which they had run. 

Mr. Rennick, who was one of the first pioneers, soon had 
more visitors than he knew what to do with, and more than 
his log cabin could shelter. These people remained in 


and around the cabin for two days, and until the men rode 
the country over and found the alarm had been a false one 
and there were no Indians in the neighborhood. 

One of the first occurrences of note in the early settle- 
ment of the West was the visitation of grasshoppers, in 
September, 1820, an occurrence which had never been 
known by the oldest inhabitants of the Mississippi Valley. 
They came in such numbers as to appear when in the heav- 
ens as thin clouds of vapor, casting a faint shadow upon 
the earth. In twenty-four hours after their appearance 
every green thing, in the nature of farm product, that they 
could eat or devour was destroyed. It so happened, how- 
ever, that they came so late in the season that the early 
corn had ripened, so they could not damage that, other- 
wise a famine would have resulted. The next appearance 
of these pests was over forty years later, in Western Mis- 
souri, Nebraska, and Kansas, which all well remember, as 
there were two or three seasons in close proximity to each 
other in the sixties when Western farmers suffered to a 
great extent from their ravages. 

For five years, from 1821 to 1826, nothing worthy of note 
occurred, but everything moved along as calmly as a sunny 

In the month of April, 1826, a terrible cyclone passed 
through that section of the country, leaving nothing stand- 
ing in its track. Fortunately the country was but sparsely 
settled, and no lives were lost. It passed from a south- 
westerly direction to the northeast, tearing to pieces a belt 
of timber about half-a-mile wide, in that part of the coun- 
try which became Jackson County, and near where Inde- 
pendence was afterward located, passing a little to the west 
of that point. 

The next cyclone that visited that country was in 1847; 
this also passed from the southwest to the northeast, pass- 


ing across the outskirts of Westport, which is now a suburb 
of Kansas City. The third and last cyclone that visited 
that section of the country, about eight years ago, blew 
down several houses in Kansas City, and killed a number of 
children who were attending the High School, the building 
being demolished by the storm. 



There was about one-fourth of the entire territory of 
Missouri that was covered with timber, and three-fourths 
in prairie land, with an annual growth of sage-grass, as it 
was called, about one and one-half feet high, and as thick as 
it could well grow; in fact the prairie lands in the com- 
mencement of its settlement were one vast meadow, where 
the farmer could cut good hay suitable for the wintering of 
his stock almost without regard to the selection of the 
spot; in other words, it was meadow everywhere outside of 
the timber lands. This condition of things would apply 
also to the States of Illinois, Iowa, and some of the other 
Western States, with the exception of Missouri, which had 
a greater proportion of timber than either of the others 
mentioned. The timber in all these States grew in belts 
along the rivers and their tributaries, the prairie covering 
the high rolling lands between the streams that made up 
the water channels of those States. 

Many of the streams in the first settling of these States 
were bold, clear running water, and many of them in Mis- 
souri were sufficiently strong almost the year round to 
afford good water power for running machinery, and it was 
the prediction in the commencement of the settlement of 
these States by the best-informed people, that the water 
would increase, for the reason that the swampy portions in 
the bottom lands, and where there were small lakes, would, 
by the settlement of the country, become diverted, its force 
to run directly into and strengthen the larger streams for 



all time to come. And to show how practical results over- 
throw theories, the fact proved to be exactly the reverse of 
their predictions. There has been a continuous slow decline 
in the natural flow of water-supply from the first settlement 
of the country. Many places that I can now remember 
that were ponds or small lakes, or in other words little res- 
ervoirs, which held the water for months while it would be 
slowly passing out and feeding the streams, have now 
become fields and plowed ground. Roads and ditches have 
been made that let the water off at once after a rainfall. 
The result has been that streams that used to turn ma- 
chinery have become not much more than outlets for the 
heavy rainfalls that occur in the rainy season, and if twenty 
of those streams, each one of which had water enough to run 
machinery seventy years ago, were all put together now into 
one stream, there would not be sufficient power to run a 
good plant of machinery. The numerous springs that 
could be found on every forty or eighty acres of land in the 
beginning, have very many of them entirely failed. 

The wells of twenty or thirty feet in depth that used to 
afford any quantity of water for family uses, many of them 
in order to get water supplies have to be sunk to a much 
greater depth. Little streams that used to afford any quan- 
tity of water for the stock have dried up, giving no water 
supply only in times of abundance of rain. All the first 
settlers in the State located along the timber belts, without 
an exception, and cultivated the timber lands to produce 
their grain and vegetables. It was many years after the 
forest lands were settled before prairie lands were cultivated 
to any extent, and it was found later that the prairie lands 
were more fertile than they gave them credit for being 
before real tests in the way of farming were made with them. 
The sage grass had the tenacity to stand a great deal of 
grazing and tramping over, and still grow to considerable 


perfection. It required years of grazing upon the prairie 
before the wild grass, which was universal in the beginning, 
gave way, but in the timber portions the vegetation that 
was found in the first settling of the land gave way almost 
at once. In two years from the time a farmer moved upon 
a new spot and turned his stock loose upon it, the original 
wild herbs that were found there disappeared and other 
vegetation took its place. The land being exceedingly fer- 
tile, never failed to produce a crop of vegetation, and when 
one variety did appear and cover the entire surface as thick 
as it could grow for a few years, it seemed to exhaust the 
quality of the soil that produced that kind, and that vari- 
ety would give way and something new come up. 

The older the country has become, as a rule, the more 
obnoxious has been the vegetation that the soil has pro- 
duced of its own accord. But there has been in my recol- 
lection, which goes back more than seventy years, a great 
many changes in the crops of vegetation on those lands, 
showing to my satisfaction that there is an inherent potency 
in nature, in rich soil that will cover itself every year with a 
growth of some kind. If it is not cultivated and made to 
produce fruit, vegetables, and cereals, it will nevertheless 
produce a crop of some kind. 

The first settlers in the Mississippi Valley were as a rule 
poor people, who were industrious, economizing, and self- 
sustaining. From ninety-five to ninety-seven per cent of 
the entire population manufactured at home almost every- 
thing necessary for good living. A great many of them 
when they were crossing the Ohio and Mississippi to their 
new homes would barely have money enough to pay their 
ferriage across the rivers, and one of the points in selling 
out whatever they had to spare when they made up their 
minds to emigrate was to be sure to have cash enough with 
them to pay their ferriage. They generally carried with 


them a pair of chickens, ducks, geese, and if possible a pair 
of pigs, their cattle and horses. The wife took her spin- 
ning wheel, a bunch of cotton or flax, and was ready to go 
to spinning as soon as she landed on the premises, often 
having her cards and wheel at work before her husband 
could build a log cabin. Going into a land, as it was then, 
that flowed with milk and honey they were enabled by the 
use of their own hands and brains to make an independent 
and good living. There was any quantity of game, bear, 
elk, deer, wild turkeys, and wild honey to be found in 
the woods, so that no man with a family, who had pluck 
and energy enough about him to stir around, ever need to 
be without a supply of food. At that time nature afforded 
the finest of pasture, both summer and winter, for his 

While the people as a rule were not educated, many of 
them very illiterate as far as education was concerned, they 
were thoroughly self-sustaining when it came to the 
knowledge required to do things that brought about a 
plentiful supply of the necessities of life. In those times 
all were on an equality, for each man and his family had to 
produce what was required to live upon, and when one man 
was a little better dressed than another there could be no 
complaint from his neighbor, for each one had the same 
means in his hands to bring about like results, and he 
could not say his neighbor was belter dressed than he was 
because he had cheated some other neighbor out of some- 
thing, and bought the dress; for at that time the goods all 
had to come to them in the same way — by their own indus- 
try. There was but little stealing or cheating among them. 
There was no money to steal, and if a man stole a piece of 
jeans or cloth of any kind he would be apprehended at 
once. Society at that time was homogeneous and simple, 
and opportunities for vice were very rare. There were 


very few old bachelors and old maids, for about the only 
thing a young man could do when he became twenty-one, 
and his mother quit making his clothes and doing his wash- 
ing, was to marry one of his neighbor's daughters. The 
two would then work together, as was the universal custom, 
and soon produce with their own hands abundance of 
supplies to live upon. 

The country was new, and when a young man got married 
his father and brothers, and his wife's father and brothers, 
often would turn out and help him put up a log cabin, 
which work required only a few days, and he and his spouse 
would move into it at once. They would go to work in 
the same way as their fathers had done, and in a few years 
would be just as independent as the old people. The 
young ladies most invariably spun and wove, and made 
their bridal dresses. At that time there were millions of 
acres of land that a man could go and squat on, build his 
cabin, and sometimes live for years upon it before the land 
would come into market, and with the prosperity attending 
such undertakings, as a general thing would manage in 
some way, when the land did come into market, to pay 
$1.25 per acre for as much as he required for the mainte- 
nance of his family. 

Men in those days who came to Missouri and looked at 
the land often declined to select a home in the State on 
account of their having no market for their products, as 
above stated, everybody producing all that was needed for 
home consumption and often a surplus, but were so far 
away from any of the large cities of the country, without 
transportation of either steamboats or railroads, for it was 
before the time of steamboats, much less railroads — for 
neither of them in my early recollections were in existence — 
to make them channels of business and trade. Men in the 


early settlement often wondered if the rich land of the 
State would ever be worth $5 per acre. 

Missouri at that time was considered the western confines 
of civilization, and it was believed then that there never 
would be in the future any white settlements of civilized 
people existing between the western borders of Missouri 
and the Pacific Coast, unless it might be the strip between 
the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, 
which the people at that time knew but little or nothing 

In 1820 and 1830 there were a great many peaceable 
tribes of Indians, located by the Government all along the 
western boundary of Missouri, in what was then called the 
Indian Territory, and has since then become the States of 
Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma Territory. I remember 
the names of many of the tribes who were our nearest 
neighbors across the line, and among them were the 
Shawnees, Delawares, Wyandottes, Kickapoos, Miamis, 
Sacs, Foxes, Osages, Peorias, and Iowas, all of whom were 
perfectly friendly and docile, and lived for a great many 
years in close proximity to the white settlers, even coming 
among them to trade without any outbreaks or trespassing 
upon the rights of the white people in any way or manner 
worth mentioning. 

There was a long period existing from 1825 to 1S60 
of perfect harmony between these tribes and the white 
people, and in fact even to this day there is no disturbance 
between these tribes and their neighbors, the whites. The 
Indian troubles have been among the Sioux, Arapahoes, 
Cheyennes, Apaches, Utes, and some other minor tribes, 
all of which, at the present time, seem to have submitted to 
their fate in whatever direction it may lie. There is one 
remark that I will venture here, and it is this, that while 
the white people were in the power of the Indians and 


understood it, we got along with the Indian a great deal 
better than when the change to the white people took 
place. In the early days white men respected the Indian's 
rights thoroughly, and would not be the aggressors, and 
often they were at the mercy of the Indians, but as soon as 
they began to feel that they could do as they pleased, 
became more aggressive and had less regard for what the 
Indian considered his rights. Then in the early days 
Indians were paid their annuities in an honest way, and 
there was no feeling among them that they were mis- 
treated by the agent whose duty it was to pay them this 

I was acquainted with one Indian agent by the name of 
Major Cummings, who for a long time was a citizen of 
Jackson County, and for a great many years agent for a 
number of the tribes living along the borders of Missouri. 
There never was a complaint or even a suspicion, to the 
best of my knowledge, that he or his clerks ever took one 
cent of the annuities that belonged to the Indians. The 
money was paid to them in silver, either in whole or half 
dollars, and the head of every family received every cent 
of his quota. Therefore we had a long period of quiet and 
peace with our red brethren. It is only since the late war 
that there has been so much complaint from the Indians 
with reference to the scanty allowances and poor food and 



In the summer of 1827 my father, Benjamin Majors, 
with twenty-four other men, formed a party to go to the 
Rocky Mountains in search of a silver mine that had been 
discovered by James Cockrell,* while on a beaver-trapping 
expedition some four years previous. 

At that time, men attempting to cross the plains had no 
means of carrying food supplies to last more than a week, 
or ten days at the outside. When their scanty supply of 
provisions was exhausted, they depended solely upon the 
game they might chance to kill, invariably eating this with- 
out salt. These twenty-five men elected James Cockrell 
their captain, as he was the only man of the party who had 
crossed the plains. Being the discoverer of what he claimed 
was a rich silver mine, they relied solely upon him to pilot 
them to the spot. The only facilities for transportation 
were one horse each. Their scant amount of bedding, with 
the rider, was all the horse could carry. Each man had to be 
armed with a good gun, and powder and ball enough to last 
him during the entire trip, for the territory through which 
they had to pass was inhabited by hostile Indians. No 
cooking vessels were taken with them, as they depended 
entirely upon roasting or broiling their meat upon the fire. 
When they could not find deer, antelope, elk, or buffalo 
they had to do without food, unless they were driven to kill 
and eat a wolf they might chance to get. When they 
reached the buffalo belt, however, 200 miles farther west, 

* An uncle of Senator Cockrell of Missouri. 



there was no scarcity of meat. The country where they 
roamed was 400 miles across, reaching to the base of the 
Rocky Mountains, and extending from Texas more than 
3,000 miles, very far north of the Canadian line. The 
buffalo were numbered by the millions. It often occurred 
in traveling through this district that there would be days 
together when one would never be out of sight of great 
herds of these animals. They stayed in the most open 
portion of the plains they could find, for the country was 
one vast plain, or level prairie. The grass called buffalo 
grass did not grow more than one and one-half to two 
inches high, but grew almost as thick in many places as 
the hair on a dog's back. Other grasses that were found 
in this locality grew much taller, but one would invariably 
find the buffalo grazing upon the short kind, especially so 
in the winter, as the high winds blew the snow away from 
where this grass grew. There were millions of acres of this 
grass. The buffalo's teeth and under jaw were so arranged 
by nature that he could bite this short grass to the earth; 
in fact no small animal, such as a sheep, goat, or antelope, 
could cut the grass more closely than the largest buffalo. 
Strange to say this short grass of the prairie is rapidly dis- 
appearing, as the buffaloes have done. In crossing the 
plains with our oxen in later years we found it impossible 
for them to get a living by grazing on the portions of the 
plains where this grass grew. 

The party in question soon reached the Raton Mount- 
ains not far from Trinidad, now on the Atchison, Topeka 
& Santa Fe Railroad. It is proper to state that after leav- 
ing their homes in Jackson and Lafayette counties, Mo., 
they traveled across the prairie, bearing a little south of 
west, until they reached the Big Bend, or Great Bend, as it 
is lately called, of the Arkansas River. At this point they 
found innumerable herds of buffalo, and no trouble in find- 


ing grass and water in plenty, as well as meat. They fol- 
lowed the margin of the river until they reached the foot- 
hills of the Rocky Mountains; then their captain told them 
he was in the region where he had discovered the mine. He 
found some difficulty in locating the spot, and after many 
days spent in searching, some of the party grew restless 
and distrustful, doubting as to whether he ever discovered 
silver ore, or if so, if he was willing to show them the loca- 
tion, and became very threatening in their attitude toward 
him. He finally found what he and they had supposed 
was silver ore. This fact pacified the party and perhaps 
saved his life, as it was a long way for men to travel 
through peril and hardships only to be disappointed, or, 
as they expressed it, "to be fooled." They were disap- 
pointed, however, when they found nothing but dirty-look- 
ing rock, with now and then a bright speck of metal in it. 
Not one of them had ever seen silver ore, nor did they 
know anything about manipulating the rock in order to 
get the silver out of it. Many of them expected to 
find the silver in metallic form, and thought they could cut 
it out with their tomahawks and pack home a good portion 
of wealth upon their horses. They thought they could 
walk and lead their horses if they could get a load of 
precious metal to carry, as their captain had done a few 
years before, when he sold his beaver skins in St. Louis, 
took his pay in silver dollars, put them in a sack, bought a 
horse to carry it, and led him 300 miles to his home. 

It must be remembered that this was the first prospect- 
ing party to look for silver that ever left the western bor- 
ders of Missouri for the Rocky Mountains. After finding 
what they supposed was a silver mine, each one selected 
some of the best specimens and left for their homes. 
Everything moved along well with them until they arrived 
at about the point-on the Arkansas River where Dodge City 


now stands. They camped one evening at the close of a 
day's travel, ate a hearty supper of buffalo meat, put their 
guard around their horses, and went to bed. Two men at 
a time guarded the horses, making a change every three 
hours during the night. This precaution was necessary to 
keep the Indians, who were in great numbers and hostile, 
from running off their horses. But on that fatal night the 
Indians succeeded in crawling on their bellies where the 
grass was tall enough to conceal them from the guard. It 
was only along the river bottoms and water courses that 
the grass grew tall. When they got between the guard and 
the horses, they suddenly rose, firing their guns, shaking 
buffalo robes, and with war-whoops and yells succeeded in 
frightening the horses to an intense degree. Then the 
Indians who were in reserve, mounted on ponies, ran the 
horses off where their owners never heard of or saw them 
afterward. Part of the Indians, at the same time, turned 
their guns upon the men that were lying upon the bank of 
the river. They jumped out of their beds, over the bank 
and into the water knee-deep. The men, by stooping 
under the bank, which was four feet perpendicular, were 
protected from the arrows and bullets of the enemy. 
There they stood for the remainder of that cold October 
night. One of the party, a man named Mark Foster, when 
they jumped over the bank, did not stop, but ran as fast as 
he could go for the other side. The water was shallow, 
not being more than knee-deep anywhere, and in some 
places not half that depth. The bottom was sandy, and at 
that place the river was some 400 yards wide. In running 
in the dark of the night, with the uneven bottom of the 
river, Mr. Foster fell several times. Each time it drew a yell 
from the Indians, who thought they had killed him, for 
they were shooting at him as he ran. After being three 
times ducked, he reached the other side and dry land. 


His clothes were thoroughly drenched, and his gun, which 
was a flint-lock and muzzle-loader, entirely useless. Just 
think of a man in that condition — his gun disabled, appar- 
ently a thousand wolves howling around him in all direc- 
tions, the darkness of the night, the yelling of the Indians 
on the other side, and 400 miles from home; the only liv- 
ing white man, unless some of his comrades happened not 
to be killed. He remained there shivering with the cold 
the rest of the night. When daylight appeared he started 
to cross the river to the camp to find out whether his com- 
rades were dead or alive. He reached the middle of the 
river and halted, his object being to see, if possible, whether 
it was the Indians or his party that he could see through 
the slight fog that was rising and slowly moving west- 
ward and up the river. His comrades, who fortunately 
were alive, could hear, in the still of the morning, 
every step he made in the water. After standing a short 
time he decided that the men he saw moving about 
were Indians, and he was confirmed in the belief that all 
his party were killed, so he ran back to where he had 
spent such a doleful part of the night and there remained 
until the fog entirely cleared away. He then could see 
that the men at the camp from where he fled were his 
comrades. He returned within about sixty yards from 
where they were, stopped and called to my father, who 
answered him, after some persuasion from the rest of the 
party, for they all felt ugly toward him, thinking he had 
acted the coward in doing as he did. When my father 
answered his call, he asked if they would allow him to join 
them. After holding a consultation it was agreed that he 
might come. He walked firmly up to them and remarked: 
" I have something to say to you, gentlemen. It is this: 
I know you think I have acted the d — d coward, and I do 
not blame you under the circumstances. When you all 


jumped over the bank I thought you were going to run 
to the other side, and I did not know any better until I had 
got so far out I was in greater danger to return than to go 
ahead. For, as you know, the Indians were sending vol- 
leys of bullets and arrows after me, and really thought they 
had killed me every time I fell. Now, to end this question, 
there is one of two things you must do. The first is that 
you take your guns and kill me now, or if you do not com- 
ply with this, that every one of you agree upon your sacred 
honor that you will never allude, in any way, or throw up 
to me the unfortunate occurrences of last night. Now, 
gentlemen, mark what I say. If you do not kill me, but 
allow me to travel with you to our homes, should one of 
you ever be so thoughtless or forgetful of the promise you 
must now make as to throw it up to me, I pledge myself 
before you all that I will take the life of the man who does 
it. Now, I have presented the situation fairly, and you 
must accept one or the other before you leave this spot." 

The party with one accord, after hearing his story, 
agreed never to allude to it in any way in his presence, and 
gave him a cordial welcome to their midst. They treated 
him as one of them from that time on, for he was a brave 
man after all. Think of the awful experience the poor 
fellow had during the night, and in the morning, to reach 
an amicable understanding with his party. One can readily 
see that he was a man of very great courage and physical 
endurance, or he could not have survived the pressure 
upon him. It was a sad time for those twenty-five brave 
men for more reasons than one. Knowing that they were 
400 miles from home, late in the fall, without a road or 
path to follow, no stopping place of any kind between them 
and their homes on the borders of the Missouri, which was 
as far as civilization had reached westward. The thought 
that impressed them most deeply was in reference to one 


of their comrades by the name of Clark Davis, whom they 
all loved and honored. He was a man weighing 300 
pounds, but not of large frame, his weight consisting more 
of fat than bone. It was the universal verdict of the party 
that it would be impossible for him to walk home and carry 
his gun and ammunition as they all had to do. They 
would go aside in little groups, so he would not hear them, 
and deplore the situation. They thought they would have 
to leave him sitting in the prairie for the wolves to devour, 
or hazard the lives of all the rest of the party. Some 
actually wept over the thought of the loss of such a dear 
comrade and noble-hearted man. Should they chance to 
reach their own homes, for they were all men with families, 
the idea of telling his family that they were obliged to 
leave him was more than they felt their nerves could 
endure. In my opinion there never was a more brave and 
heroic group of men thrown together than were those 
twenty-five frontiersmen. All were fine specimens of man- 
hood, physically speaking, between thirty and forty years 
of age, and with perfect health and daring to do whatever 
their convictions dictated. 

They went to work and burned their saddles, bridles, 
blankets, in fact everything they had in camp that they 
could not carry with them on their backs. This they did 
to prevent the Indians from getting any more "booty." 
After all their arrangements were made for leaving their 
unfortunate camping-place, they started once more for 
their homes. They traveled at the rate of twenty to 
twenty-five miles per day. They could have gone farther, 
but for the fact that they had no trail to walk in. The 
grass in some places, and the drifting sand in others, made 
it exceedingly irksome for footmen. 

My father was frequently asked after his return: 

" Was there no road you could follow? " 


He would answer: 

" No, from the fact that the drifting sand soon filled 
every track of a passing caravan and no trace was left of a 
trail a few hours afterward." 

A few years later on this shifting of sand discontinued, 
and grass and small shrubbery soon began to grow and 
cover many places that were then perfectly bare. One-half 
of the distance they had to walk was covered with herds of 
buffalo, the other half was through desolate prairie country, 
where game of any kind was seldom seen. It was on this 
part of their journey that they came near starvation. It 
only took them a few days after leaving the buffalo belt to 
consume what meat they had carried on their backs, as men 
become very hungry and consume a great deal of meat 
when they have long and tiresome walks to make. In the 
first week of their march their convictions in regard to 
Clark Davis were confirmed, as they thought, for his feet 
blistered in a terrible manner, his fat limbs became exceed- 
ingly raw and sore, so he of necessity would lag. Then 
they would detail of a morning when they started, a guard 
of five or six men to remain with him for protection from 
the Indians. The rest of the party would walk on to some 
point they would designate for camping the next night, and 
he with his little guard would arrive some three or four 
hours later. This went on for seven or eight days in suc- 
cession, each day they expecting the news from the guard 
that he had given up the hope of going any farther. But 
in time his feet began to improve, in fact his condition 
every way, and he would reach camp sooner each day after 
the arrival of the party. After they had passed the buf- 
falo belt, where meat was abundant, and struck the starva- 
tion belt in their travels, Mr. Davis' fat proved a blessing 
and of great service. When fatigue and want were to be 
endured at the same time, he began to take the lead instead 


of the rear of the party. Several days before they reached 
home they would have perished, but for the fact that he 
alone had sufficient activity and strength to attempt to hunt 
for game, for they had seen none after leaving the buffalo. 
They had reached a place called Council Grove — now a 
city of that name — in the State of Kansas, about one hun- 
dred and thirty miles from their homes. After so many 
weeks of hard marching they thought they could go no 
farther, and some dropped on the ground, thinking it use- 
less to make the attempt. At this juncture Clark Davis 

" Boys, I will go and kill a deer." 

My father said the very word was tantalizing to a lot of 
men who were almost dying of hunger. They did not 
know there was a deer in the country, or anything else that 
could be eaten, not even a snake, for cold weather was so 
near even they had disappeared. Davis, however, deter- 
mined on his hunt, left his comrades, and had traveled only 
a few hundred yards until he saw two fine deer standing 
near. Directly the men in the camp heard the report of 
his gun, and as soon as he could reload they heard a second 
report, and then a shout, " Come here, boys! there is meat in 
plenty." You may imagine it was not long until everyone 
joined him. They drank every drop of blood that was in 
the two deer, ate the livers without cooking, and saved 
every particle, even taking the marrow out of their legs. 
This meat tided them over until they were able to reach 
other food. 

Never before in the history of the past, nor since that 
time, did 150 pounds of surplus fat — so considered until 
starvation overtook them — prove to be of such great value, 
and was worth more to them than all the gold and silver in 
the Rocky Mountains. When the test came, it was found 
t'j be one of nature's reservoirs that could be drawn upon 


to save the lives of twenty-five brave men when all else 
failed them. Mr. Davis, as well as the rest of the party, no 
doubt often wished it could be dispensed with, as after 
losing his horse he carried it with great suffering and 
fatigue, before they learned its use, and that it was to be 
the salvation of the party. We often hear it said that truth 
is stranger than fiction, and this certainly was one of the 
cases where it proved to be so. 

They finally reached home without losing one of their 
party; but they all gave the man whom they expected to 
leave to the wolves in the start the credit of saving their 
lives. When Mr. Davis reached his family the first thing 
his wife did was to set him a good meal. When he sat 
down to the table he said, " Jane, there is to be a new law 
for the future of our lives at our table." She said, 
"What is it, Clark?" He answered, " It is this. I never 
want to hear you or one of my children say bread again." 
'■What then must we call it?" asked his wife. "Call it 
bready," said he, " for when I was starving on the plains it 
came to me that the word bread was too short and coarse 
a name to call such sweet, precious, and good a thing, and 
whoever eats it should use this pet name and be thankful 
to God who gives it, for I assure you, wife, the ordeal I 
have passed through will forever cause me to appreciate 
life and the good things that uphold it." 

The outcome of this trip was drawing the party together, 
like one family, and they could not be kept long apart. It is 
a fact that mutual suffering begets an endearment stronger 
than ties of blood. It was interesting to me as a boy to 
hear them relate their experiences in reference to their 
hard trials and forebodings that were undergone, with no 
beneficial results. Some of them' sent their specimens to 
St. Louis to be tested for silver, but received discouraging 
accounts of its value. If a very rich mine had been found 


at that time it would not have been of any practical value, 
for they were more than thirty years ahead of the time when 
silver-mining could be carried on, from an American stand- 
point, with success. There was no one west of the Alle- 
ghanies with capital and skill enough to carry on such an 
enterprise, and there were no means whatever for trans- 
porting machinery to the Rocky Mountains. 



Nothing of very great note occurred in the county of 
Jackson, after the cyclone of 1826, until the year 1830, 
when five Mormon elders made their appearance in the 
county and commenced preaching, stating to their audi- 
ences that they were chosen by the priesthood which had 
been organized by the prophet Joseph Smith, who had met 
an angel and received a revelation from God, who had also 
revealed to him and his adherents the whereabouts of a 
book written upon golden plates and deposited in the earth. 
This book was found in a hill called Cumorah, at Man- 
chester, in the State of New York. They selected a place 
near Independence, Jackson County, Mo., in the early part 
of the year 1831, which they named Temple Lot, a beauti- 
ful spot of ground on a high eminence. They there stuck 
down their Jacob's staff, as they called it, and said: "This 
spot is the center of the earth. This is the place where the 
Garden of Eden, in which Adam and Eve resided, was 
located, and we are sent here according to the directions 
of the angel that appeared to our prophet, Joseph Smith, 
and told him this is the spot of ground on which the New 
Jerusalem is to be built, and, when finished, Christ Jesus is to 
make his reappearance and dwell in this city of New Jeru- 
salem with the saints for a thousand years, at the end of 
which time there will be a new deal with reference to the 
nations of the earth, and the final wind-up of the career of 
the human family." They claimed to have all the spiritual 
gifts and understanding of the works of the Almighty that 



belonged to the Apostles who were chosen by Christ when 
on his mission to this earth. They claim the gift of 
tongues and interpretation of tongues or languages spoken in 
an unknown tongue. In their silent meetings, the one who 
had received the gift of an unknown tongue knew nothing 
of its interpretation whatever, but after some silence some 
one in the audience would rise and claim to have the gift 
of interpretation, and would interpret what the brother or 
sister had previously spoken. They also claimed to have 
the gift of healing by anointing the sick with oil and lay- 
ing on of hands, and some claimed that they could raise 
the dead; in fact, they laid claim to every gift that be- 
longed to the Apostolic day or age. They established their 
headquarters at Independence, where some of their lead- 
ing elders were located. There they set up a printing 
office, the first that was established within 150 miles of 
Independence, and commenced printing their church liter- 
ature, which was very distasteful to the members and lead- 
ers of other religious denominations, the community being 
composed of Methodists, Baptists of two different orders, 
Presbyterians of two different orders, and Catholics, and a 
denomination calling themselves Christians. In that day 
and age it was regarded as blasphemous or sacrilegious for 
any one to claim that they had met angels and received 
from them new revelations, and the religious portion of the 
community, especially, was very much incensed and aroused 
at the audacity of any person claiming such interviews from 
the invisible world. Of course the Mormon elders de- 
nounced the elders and preachers of the other denomina- 
tions above mentioned, and said they were the blind lead- 
ing the blind, and that they would all go into the ditch 
together. An elder by the name of Rigdon preached in the 
court house one Sunday in 1832, in which he said that he 
had been to the third heaven, and had talked face to face 


with God Almighty. The preachers in the community the 
next day went en masse to call upon him. He repeated 
what he had said the day before, telling them they had not 
the truth, and were the blind leading the blind. 

The conduct of the Mormons for the three years that 
they remained there was that of good citizens, beyond their 
tantalizing talks to outsiders. They, of course, were 
clannish, traded together, worked together, and carried with 
them a melancholy look that one acquainted with them 
could tell a Mormon when he met him by the look upon 
his face almost as well as if he had been of different color. 
They claimed that God had given them that locality, and 
whoever joined the Mormons, and helped prepare for the 
next coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, would be accepted 
and all right; but if they did not go into the fold of the 
Latter Day Saints, that it was only a matter of time when 
they would be crushed out, for that was the promised land 
and they had come to possess it. The Lord had sent them 
there and would protect them against any odds in the way 
of numbers. Finally the citizens, and particularly the 
religious portion of them, made up their minds that it was 
wrong to allow them to be printing their literature and 
preaching, as it might have a bad effect upon the rising 
generation; and on the 4th of July, 1833, there was quite a 
gathering of the citizens, and a mob was formed to tear 
down their printing office. While the mob was forming, 
many of the elders stood and looked on, predicting that the 
first man who touched the building would be paralyzed and 
fall dead upon the ground. The mob, however, paid no 
attention to their predictions and prayers for God to come 
and slay them, but with one accord seized hold of the imple- 
ments necessary to destroy the house, and within the 
quickest time imaginable had it torn to the ground, and 
scattered their type and literature to the four winds. This, 


of course, created an intense feeling of anger on the part 
of the Mormons against the citizens. At this time there 
were but a few hundred Mormons in the county against 
many times their number of other citizens. I presume 
there was not exceeding 600 Mormons in the county. 

Immediately after they tore down the printing office they 
sent to the store of Elder Partridge and Mr. Allen, who 
was also an elder in the church, and took them by force to 
the public square, stripped them to their waists, and poured 
on them a sufficient amount of tar to cover their bodies 
well, and then took feathers and rubbed them well into the 
tar, making the two elders look like a fright. One of their 
names being Partridge, many began to whistle like a cock 
partridge, in derision. Now, be it remembered that the 
people who were doing this were not what is termed " rab- 
ble " of a community, but many among them were respect- 
able citizens and law-abiding in every other respect, but who 
actually thought they were doing God's service to destroy, if 
possible, and obliterate Mormonism. In all my experience 
I never saw a more law-abiding people than those who 
lived where this occurred. There is nothing, however, that 
they could have done that would have proved more effect- 
ual in building up and strengthening the faith of the peo- 
ple so treated as this and similar performances proved to 
do. For if there is anything under the sun that will 
strengthen people in their beliefs or faith, no matter whether 
it is error or truth, if they have adopted it as true, it is to 
abuse and punish them for their avowed belief in whatever 
they espouse as religion or politics. 

A few months after the tearing down of the building, 
a dozen or two Mormons made their appearance one 
day on the county road west of the Big Blue and not 
far from the premises of Moses G. Wilson. Wilson's boy 
rode out to drive up the milk cows in the morning, and saw 


this group of Mormons and had some conversation with 
them, and they used some very violent language to the boy. 
He went back and told his father, and it happened that 
there were several of the neighbors in at the time, as he 
kept a little county store; and in those days men generally 
carried their guns with them, in case they should have a 
chance to shoot a deer or turkey as they went from one 
neighbor's to another. It so happened that several of them 
had their guns with them; those who did not picked up a 
club of some kind, and they all followed the boy, who 
showed them where they were. When they got in close 
proximity to where the Mormons were grouped, seeing the 
men approaching with guns, the Mormons opened fire upon 
them, and the Gentiles, as they were called by the Mor- 
mons, returned the fire. There was a lawyer on the Gen- 
tile side by the name of Brazeel, who was shot dead; 
another man by the name of Lindsay was shot in the jaw 
and was thought to be fatally wounded, but recovered. 
Wilson's boy was also shot in the body, but not fatally. 
There were only one or two Mormons killed. Of course, 
after this occurrence, it aroused an intense feeling of hate 
and revenge in the citizens, and the Mormons would not 
have been so bold had it not been for their elders claiming 
that under all circumstances and at all times they would 
be sustained by the Almighty's power, and that a few of 
them would be able to put their enemies to flight. The 
available Mormon men then formed themselves into an 
organization for fighting the battles of the Lord, and 
started to Independence, about ten miles away, to take pos- 
session of the town. On their way, and when they were within 
about a mile of Independence, they marched with all the 
faith and fervor imaginable for fanatics to possess, encour- 
aging each other with the words, " God will be with us and 
deliver our enemies into our hands." At this point they 


met a gentleman whom I well knew, by the name of Rube 
Collins, a citizen of the place, who was leaving the town in 
a gallop to go home and get more help to defend the town 
from the Mormon invasion. He shouted out as he passed 
them, " You are a d — d set of fools to go there now; there are 
armed men enough there to exterminate you in a minute." 
They were acquainted with Collins, and supposed he had 
told them the truth; however, at that time they could have 
taken the town had they pressed on, but his words intimi- 
dated them somewhat, and they filed off from the big road 
and hid themselves in the brush until they could hold a 
council, and I presume pray for light to be guided by. 
During this time there were runners going in all directions, 
notifying the citizens that the Mormons were coming to 
the town to take it, and every citizen, as soon as he could 
run bullets and fill his powder horn with powder, gathered 
his gun and made for the town; and in a few hours men 
enough had gathered to exterminate them had they 
approached. In their council that they held they decided 
not to approach until they sent spies ahead to see 
whether Collins had told them the truth or not. They 
supposed he had, from the fact that they found the public 
square almost covered with men, and others arriving every 
minute. As quickly as the citizens had organized them- 
selves into companies (my father, Benjamin Majors, being 
captain of one of them), they then sent a message by two 
or three citizens to the Mormons, where they were still 
secreted in the paw-paw brush, and told them that if they did 
not come and surrender immediately, the whole party that 
was waiting for them in the town would come out and 
exterminate them. This message sent terror to their 
hearts, with all their claims that God would go before 
them and fight their battles for them. After holding 
another council they decided the best thing they could do 


was to go and surrender themselves to their enemies, which 
they did. I never saw a more pale-faced, terror-stricken 
set of men banded together than these seventy-five Mor- 
mons, for it was all the officers could do to keep the citi- 
zens from shooting them down, even when they were sur- 
rendering. However, they succeeded in keeping the men 
quiet, and no one was hurt. They slacked all their arms 
around a big white-oak stump that was perhaps four feet in 
diameter, and at that time was standing in the public 
square. Afterward the guns were put in the jail house for 
safe keeping, and were eaten up with rust, and never to my 
knowledge delivered to them. They then stipulated that 
every man, woman, and child should leave the county 
within three weeks. This was a tremendous hardship upon 
the Mormons, as it was late in the fall, and there were no 
markets for their crops or anything else that they had. The 
quickest way to get out of the county was to cross the 
river into Clay, as the river was the line between the two 
counties. They had to leave their homes, their crops, and 
in fact every visible thing they had to live upon. Many 
of their houses were burned, their fences thrown down, and 
the neighbors' stock would go in and eat and destroy the 

It has been claimed by people who were highly colored 
in their prejudice against the Mormons that they were bad 
citizens; that they stole whatever they could get their 
hands on and were not law-abiding. This is not true with 
reference to their citizenship in Jackson County, where they 
got their first kick, and as severe a one as they ever 
received, if not the most severe. There was not an officer 
among them, all the offices of the county being in the 
hands of their enemies, and if one had stolen a chicken he 
could and would have been brought to grief for doing so; 
but it is my opinion there is nothing in the county records 



to show where a Mormon was ever charged with any mis- 
demeanor in the way of violation of the laws for the pro- 
tection of property. The cause of all this trouble was 
solely from the claim that they had a new revelation direct 
from the Almighty, making them the chosen instruments to 
go forward, let it please or displease whom it might, to 
build the New Jerusalem on the spot above referred to, 
Temple Lot. And, as above stated, whoever did not join 
in this must sooner or later give way to those who would. 
I met a Presbyterian preacher, Rev. Mr. McNice, in Salt 
Lake City a number of years ago at the dinner table of a 
mutual friend, Doctor Douglas. It was on the Sabbath after 
hearing him preach a very bitter sermon against the Mor- 
mons, denouncing their doctrines and doings in a severe 
manner, and while we were at the dinner table, the subject 
of the Mormons came up, and I told him that I was 
thoroughly versed in their first troubles in Missouri, and he 
asked me what the trouble was. I told him frankly that it 
grew out of the fact that they claimed to have seen an 
angel, and to have received a new revelation from God 
which was not in accord with the religious denominations 
that existed in the community at that time. He hooted at 
the idea and told me he had read the history of their troub- 
les there, and that they were bad citizens with reference to 
being outlaws, thieves, etc., who would pick up their neigh- 
bors' property and the like. He insisted that he had read 
their history, and showed a disposition to discredit my 
statements. I then told him /was history, and knew as 
much about it as any living man could know, and that there 
were no charges of that kind against them; they were 
industrious, hard-working people, and worked for whatever 
they wanted to live upon, obtaining it by their industry, and 
not by stealing it from their neighbors. He then scouted 
at the idea that people would receive such treatment as 


they did merely because they claimed to have seen angels 
and talked with God and claimed to have a new revelation. 
I then referred him to the fact that fifty or sixty years pre- 
vious to that time the public mind in America lacked a great 
deal of being so tolerant as it was at the time of our conver- 
sation; that not more than one hundred years ago some 
of the American people were so superstitious that they 
could burn witches at the stake and drag Quakers through 
the streets of Boston on their backs, with a jack hitched to 
their heels; that the Mormons to-day could go to Jackson 
County, Mo., and preach the same doctrines that they did 
then, and the result would be that they would be laughed 
at instead of mobbed as they were sixty years ago. 

I was sitting in a cabin with my father's miller, a Mr. 
Newman, a Mormon, at the time of this trouble. Mr. New- 
man's mother-in-law, who lived with him, was named Bent- 
ley; she had a son in the company that surrendered at 
Independence, and who walked six miles that evening and 
came home. The young man walked in and looked as sad 
as death, and when asked what the news was he stood there 
and related what had taken place that day at the surrender. 
They all sat in breathless silence and listened to the story, 
and when he was through with his statement and said the 
Mormons had agreed to leave the county within three 
weeks, the old lady, who sat by the table sewing, raised her 
hand and brought it down upon the table with a tremen- 
dous thud, and said: 

"So sure as this is a world there will be a New Jerusalem 

I relate this little incident to show that even after they 
had met with such a galling defeat how zealous even the 
old women were with reference to their future success. 
But it is my opinion that the more often a fanatic is kicked 
and abused, the stronger is his faith in his cause, for then 


they would take Up the Scriptures and read the sentences 
expressed by Christ: 

"But before all these they shall lay their hands on you 
and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues 
and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for 
my name's sake." "But take heed to yourselves, for they 
shall deliver you up to councils, and in the synagogues ye 
shall be beaten; and ye shall be brought before rulers and 
kings for my sake for a testimony against them." 

From such passages they have always drawn the greatest 
consolation, and one would ask one another, "Where are 
the people the blessed Lord had reference to?" Another 
brother, with all the sanctity and confidence imaginable for 
a fanatic to feel, would answer, "Well, brother, if you do 
not find them among the Latter Day Saints you can not 
find them upon the face of this green earth, for we have 
suffered all the abuses the blessed Lord refers to in the 
Scripture you have just quoted." 

I have said before that the Mormons all crossed the Mis- 
souri into Clay County, where they wintered in tents and 
log cabins hastily thrown together, and lived on mast, corn, 
and meat that they would procure from the citizens for 
whom they worked in clearing ground and splitting rails, 
and other work of a like character. 

In the spring they were determined to return to their 
homes, although they were so badly destroyed, and claimed 
again as before that God would vindicate them and put to 
flight their enemies. The people of Jackson County, 
however, watched for their return, and gathered, at the 
appointed time, in a large body, on the opposite side of the 
river to where the Mormons were expected to congregate 
and cross back into the county. Their spies came to the 
river, and seeing camps of the citizens, who had gathered to 
the number of four or five hundred strong (I being one of 


the number) to prevent their crossing, then changed their 
purpose and sent some of their leading men to locate in some 
other part of the State, for the time being, with the full 
understanding, however, that at the Lord's appointed time 
they would all be returned to Jackson County, and complete 
their mission in building the city of the New Jerusalem. 
The delegation they sent out selected Davis and Colwell 
counties as the portion of the State where they would make 
their temporary rally until they became strong enough for 
the Lord to restore them to their former location. 

During that spring the citizens of Jackson County, feel- 
ing that there had been, in many cases, great outrages per- 
petrated upon the Mormons, held a public meeting at Inde- 
pendence and appointed five commissioners, whose duty it 
was to meet some of the leading elders of the Mormons at 
Liberty, the seat of Clay County, and make some repara- 
tion for the damages that had been done to their property 
the fall before in Jackson County. They met, but failed to 
agree, as the elders asked more and perhaps wanted to 
retain the titles they had to the lands, as they thought it 
would be sacrilege to part with them, for that' was the 
chosen spot for the New Jerusalem. During the time that 
elapsed between the commissioners crossing the river in the 
morning and returning in the evening, the ferryman (Brad- 
bury), whom I have often met, a man with a very large and 
finely developed physique, a great swimmer, was supposed 
to be bribed by the Mormons to bore large auger-holes 
through the gunwales of his flatboat just at the water's edge. 
The boat having a floor in it some inches above the bottom, 
there could be no detection of the flow of the water until 
it was sufficiently deep to cover the inner floor. The com- 
missioners went upon the boat with their horses, and had 
not proceeded very far from the shore until they found the 
water coming up in the second floor and the boat rapidly 


sinking. This, of course, produced great consternation, 
for the river was very high and turbulent. Bradbury, the 
owner of the ferry, said to his two men: 

"Boys, we will jump off and swim back to the shore." 

As above stated, he was a great swimmer, and had been 
known to swim the Missouri upon his back several times 
not long before this occurred. When the water rose in the 
boat so that it was necessary for the commissioners to leave 
it, three of them caught hold of their horses' tails, after 
throwing off as much clothing as they could before the 
boat went down with them. The other two men who could 
swim attempted to swim alone, but the current was so tur- 
bulent that they were overcome and were drowned. Those 
who hung on to the tails of their horses were brought 
safely to shore. One of the men drowned was a neigh- 
bor of my father's and as fine a gentleman and good fellow 
as ever lived. His name was David Lynch. 

I remember well their names, and was well acquainted 
with two of the men who were pulled through by their 
horses, S. Noland and Sam C. Owens, the foremost mer- 
chant of the county, a man who stood high in every sense, 
and of marked ability. 

This occurrence put the quietus on any further attempt 
to try to settle for the damages done the Mormons when 
driven from the county, for it caused in the whole popula- 
tion the most intense feeling against them, and they never 
were remunerated. 

When Bradbury jumped off the boat he swam for the 
shore, but was afterward found dead, with one of his hands 
grasping the root of a Cottonwood tree, so there was no 
opportunity for trying him for the crime, or finding out how 
it was brought about. It was supposed that he was bribed, 
as no one knew of any enmity he had against the commis- 


The town the Mormons started, which they selected for 
their home in Paris County, they called Far West. This 
was the first experience that the people of Western Mis- 
souri had with the emigrants of the Eastern or New England 
States. Brigham Young, who afterward became the leader 
of the Mormons, was from Vermont, and many others com- 
posing the early pioneers of the Mormon church were from 
the New England States; some, however, from Ohio and Illi- 
nois, as well as some proselytes from Missouri. Up to the 
time of their appearance in Western Missouri the entire 
population was from some one of the four States — Virginia, 
North Carolina, Tennessee, or Kentucky. 

It has been claimed by some that one of the causes of 
the dissatisfaction was that the Mormons were Abolitionists. 
This, however, played no part in the bitter feeling that 
grew up between them and their neighbors, for at the time 
of their coming to Jackson County there were but very few 
slaves, the people generally being poor farmers who lived 
from the labor of their own hands and that of their families. 
And then, when the Mormons were driven entirely from 
Missouri to Illinois, which was a free State, they soon got 
into difficulty with their neighbors there, as they had done 
in Missouri. It is claimed now, universally, by the people 
of this country that polygamy, or the plurality-wife system, 
is the only objection that good citizens can have to Mor- 
monism. This was not the cause of their difficulties or 
their trouble in Illinois and Missouri, as they had never, 
up to the time they left Nauvoo, 111., proclaimed polygamy 
as being a church institution. And as I have previously 
stated, it was their clannishness, as is natural for a church 
to do, more or less, only they carried it to a greater degree 
than other denominations. Also the new doctrine they 
were preaching, stating that they were the only and chosen 
people of God, and that they had the key of St. Peter, 


which was lost during the dark ages and was revealed again 
to Joseph Smith, their prophet; that the Lord would stand 
by them and enable them to prevail in their undertakings 
as against any array of opposition, no matter how much 
greater the numbers might be than their own. 

They built up the city of Far West, of several thousand 
people, and while there increased very rapidly, having 
missionaries in many parts of the country preaching their 
doctrine. As quickly as an individual would accept their 
faith, they would at once rally to the headquarters, and in 
the course of a few years they had put a great deal of the 
prairie lands into cultivation and increased their numbers 
until they were so formidable that when they began to be 
odious to their neighbors by showing a hostile attitude 
toward any power that might interfere with them, they got 
into trouble much in the same way as they did in Jackson 

A party of Gentiles and Mormons met at a point called 
Horn's Mill, and became involved in a quarrel, when there 
were some killed on both sides. This created such a feel- 
ing in the community that both Mormons and Gentiles felt 
insecure, living neighbors to each other as they were, and 
the trouble went on until it culminated in the Governor, 
Lilburn W. Boggs, calling out a portion of the militia of 
the State and ordering them to Far West, the Mormon cen- 
ter. The Mormons were drilling continuously, and increas- 
ing their facilities for fighting, when the militia reached the 
place designated, and organizing, placed themselves in 
battle array. The Mormons were also drawn up in long 
lines, and for a short time it looked as if a bloody battle 
was unavoidable, but before any engagement occurred the 
Mormons again surrendered. They then agreed to leave 
the State of Missouri, and in April, 1839, the last of the 
band left Far West, moved across the Mississippi into Illi- 


nois, where they afterward located and built the city of 
Nauvoo, but with no better results with the people in the 
free State than they experienced in Missouri. This shows 
that slavery had nothing to do with the hard feelings and 
prejudice they aroused in every community in which they 

The Mormons' new village was named Nauvoo, which 
means Peaceful Rest. While there, having increased to 
fifteen thousand souls, they built a temple to the Lord, 
which was, perhaps, the finest building that had ever been 
erected in the State up to that time. During the year 
1844, trouble arose between them and the Gentiles, to sup- 
press which the militia was called out, and in June of that 
year a writ was sworn out for the arrest of the Mormon 
prophet, Joseph Smith. His brother Hiram and Elder 
Taylor, who, after Brigham Young's death, became presi- 
dent of the church, accompanied him to Carthage, 111., 
where he went to give himself up. Arriving at Carthage, 
all three were put in jail, where a mob succeeded in killing 
the two brothers and seriously wounding Taylor, who car- 
ried some of the bullets in his body during the remainder 
of his life. On the death of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young 
was chosen by the church as its prophet, president, and 

After three severe experiences in establishing settle- 
ments in Missouri and Illinois, they determined in their 
councils to emigrate farther west and start a colony which 
would be composed of Latter Day Saints, where they would 
be entirely distinct and separate from any antagonizing 
elements. At that time Salt Lake Valley, being under 
Spanish dominion and a thousand miles from any white 
settlement, was ultimately chosen as the spot best suited 
for their purpose. 

After leaving Nauvoo, 111., they went to Council Bluffs, 



Iowa (called by them Kaneville), traveling through the 
State of Iowa, and undergoing the greatest hardships and 
sufferings any people were ever called upon to endure, 
being without money, some of them without the proper 
means of transportation, destitute of almost all the neces- 
sities of life, and a great many sick on account of exposure 
to the elements. Arriving at the place above named, on 
the Missouri River, they went into winter quarters, and the 
next spring planted and raised crops in that vicinity, the 
greater number of the emigrants remaining there for the 
next two years. 

In the spring of 1847, at the time war was being carried 
on between the United States and Mexico, Brigham Young 
started west with a band of from seventy to seventy-five 
pioneers, having, I believe, an impression that in Salt Lake 
Valley might be found the Mecca of their hopes. They 
arrived in Salt Lake Valley on the 21st day of July of that 
year. Previous to this, in 1846, at the call of the President 
for troops for the Mexican War, Brigham Young raised a 
regiment of a thousand volunteers to go to Mexico, under 
a stipulation with the United States Government that, when 
the war was over, the survivors should receive their dis- 
charges in California. This agreement was made in view of 
the fact that they had already resolved to go west into 
Spanish territory. 

The treaty of peace between the United States and Old 
Mexico, at the close of the war, resulted in the Government 
of Mexico giving up to the United States all the territory 
possessed by it lying north of the present boundary line 
between the two countries, so that, after all the exertions 
the Mormons had made to effect a settlement on Spanish 
territory, in less than a year they found themselves still in 
the United States, where they have ever since remained, 
having built cities and towns on the colonizing plan in 


every available portion of the Territory of Utah, and hav- 
ing quite a number of colonies in other Territories, with 
one at present established in Mexico, as I have lately been 

I have met in later years and become familiarly 
acquainted with many of the leading spirits of the Mor- 
mon church, and have had large business transactions 
with Brigham Young and many other prominent Mormons, 
among whom were Captain Hooper, General Eldridge, 
Ferrimore Little, William Jennings, John Sharp, Lew 
Hills, Gen. Daniel H. Wells, Wilford Woodruff (now 
president of the Mormon church), Joseph Smith, and 
George Q. Cannon, and a fairer, more upright set of 
gentlemen I never met. 

I have heard all the leading elders of the Mormon 
Church preach, including Brigham Young, Heber Kimball, 
George Q. Cannon, George A. Smith (the historian), John 
Taylor, Orson Pratt, and Elder Woodruff, who is now 
president of the church. 

Orson Pratt was the ablest expounder of the Scriptures, 
particularly of the prophecies, in the Mormon church. He 
was the man chosen by Brigham Young and his counselors 
to discuss the subject of polygamy, from a Bible standpoint, 
with the Rev. John P. Newman, who was at that time 
pastor of one of the Methodist churches in Washington, 
D. C. I, among many other Gentiles, was present and 
heard the discussion, which took place in the Mormon 

President Young, as he was invariably called by his own 
people, was the boldest, most outspoken man I ever saw in 
the pulpit. I remember hearing him one Sabbath day 
when he was preaching in the Tabernacle, which seats 
13,000 people, and on that day was packed to its full 
capacity, there being probably one hundred and fifty or 


more strangers present — excursionists from the East on 
their way to California, who had stopped over Sunday to 
visit the Mormon church, and listen to the immense organ 
and singers, but whose greatest desire was to hear Erigham 
Young expound the Mormon doctrine. These strangers 
were given the most prominent seats by the ushers, and 
this is the only church in which I remember strangers 
having precedent over the regular church members in being 
seated. When Brigham Young was well along in his dis- 
cussion, it occurred to him that the strangers present would 
want to know the size of his family, as that was a question 
often asked by visitors, so he ceased his discourse and 
said: "I suppose the strangers present would like to know 
how many wives and children I have," and then proceeded 
to say he had sixteen wives and forty-five living children, 
having lost eight or ten children, I believe. He then pro- 
ceeded to finish his discourse. 

I was present on another occasion when he was preach- 
ing to a very large congregation, and he said to them: 

" Brethren, we have thieves, scoundrels, perjurers, and 
villains in our church, but the day will come when the tares 
will be separated from the wheat and burned up with 
unquenchable fire; if this were not so, however, we could 
not claim to be the church of Jesus Christ, for he said that 
the kingdom of God was like a great net, which, being cast 
into the sea, brought all manner of fishes to the shore." 
He was the only preacher I ever heard make such remarks 
to his own people, and recognize the church as being the 
true one because of the tares that grew among the wheat. 

The Mormon church taught regeneration through bap- 
tism by immersion. In the commencement of their service 
a chapter from either the Old or New Testament was gen- 
erally read, and during the discourse frequent reference 
was made to the Book of Mormon and to Joseph Smith, 
their prophet. 


President Young was one of the smartest men, if nut the 
ablest man, it was ever my fortune to meet. He was a man 
well posted on all subjects relating to the business interests 
of the country, and especially to his own people. His 
bishops and himself settled all manner of difficulties aris- 
ing out of business or church matters without the assist- 
ance of courts, and he always insisted that every difficulty 
should be settled by arbitration of the members of the 
community in which the disputants lived. 

In the ten years I lived in Salt Lake City, which was 
from 1869 to 1879, I never heard any talk among the Mor- 
mons about the gift of speaking the unknown tongue, or 
the interpretation thereof, as they claimed to have in Mis- 
souri. They, however, claimed to possess all the gifts of 
the Apostolic age and, as I have stated in another place, 
the keys of St. Peter. They believed in church authority, 
as do the Catholics, and in a personal God; they differ 
widely, r^vever, from their Catholic brethren when they 
come to the marriage relation, the Mormons believing their 
bishops and elders should each have many wives, the 
Catholics, on the other hand, denying marriage to their 

Mormon communities, like all others, are made up of 
those who are reliable and those who are not — in other 
words, the good and the bad. Polygamy, which was prac- 
ticed among them for more than a quarter of a century, 
they claimed upon scriptural authority was practiced in 
the Apostolic days. Let that be as it may, perhaps there 
never was a time in the march of civilization when to 
adopt such a practice would have been in more direct oppo- 
sition to the moral sense of the civilized world than the 
present one of the nineteenth century. 

In by-gone days, when the people depended upon their 
own and home productions for their living, the larger a 


man's family, with every one a worker, the easier it was 
for him to get along. Not so now, however, but it is just 
the reverse. 

The Mormons believed that church and state should be 
one, and that the laws of God should be the laws of the 
land; therefore many of them persisted in practicing polyg- 
amy after Congress passed laws prohibiting it, preferring, 
as they said, to practice the higher law in disobedience to 
the laws made by men, and many of them have gone, 
singing and dancing, to the penitentiary, consigned there 
by the courts for violating the statutes because of their 



The new Mormon temple marks the history of the 
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from the day 
when Brigham Young and his few followers first set foot 
in the new promised land. It is a work commenced in the 
wilderness, and completed forty years afterward. 

The laying of the cap-stone of the temple recorded the 
culmination of a work the Mormon people have been 
eagerly anticipating for nearly two generations. It recalls, 
too, many chapters of history abounding in interest. It 
tells a tale of patience, industry, and unswerving devotion 
to an object and a religious principle. 

It is forty years ago since the corner-stones of this 
temple were laid, and although there have been occasional 
lapses of time when nothing was done, and often only a 
few men employed, the work has practically been going on 

Not more than a few days after the arrival of the Mor- 
mon pioneers in the Great Salt Lake Basin, the prophet, 
Brigham Young, was strolling about in the vicinity of his 
camping-place in company with some of the apostles of his 
church. The days previous had been employed in explor- 
ing the valley to the north and south. These explorations 
satisfied them that there was no more favorable location to 
commence the building of a new city in the wilderness than 
the one on which they had first pitched their tents. The 
night when Brigham took that stroll was at the end of a 
perfect day in July. Looking to the south the valley 



stretched awry into magnificent distances and beautiful 
vistas as lovely as eye ever beheld. Over in the west was 
the Great Salt Lake, with its huge islands rising from the 
mirrored surface of its waters, and burying their mountain- 
ous heads in the white of the clouds and the blue of the sky. 
In the east were the cold and rugged ranges of the Wasatch. 
To the north were the brown hills that guarded the city in 
that direction. It was a scene to inspire beautiful and 
poetic thoughts, and Brigham gazed about him, apparently 
delighted with the sublimity of the glorious prospect. 

Turning his eyes to the east he struck his cane into the 
earth and said, " Here is where the temple of our God 
shall rise." Not a word of dissent was heard to his procla- 
mation. There were no suggestions that better sites 
might be had. Brigham had issued his edict, and when he 
had spoken it was law to his people, so solemn that all 
indorsed it. From that moment the Temple Square was 
looked upon as sacred to the purpose to which it had been 

Remembering with what matchless courage this great 
Mormon leader had conducted his insignificant army across 
the desert from the Missouri River, and through the 
mountain defiles into this then wilderness, it is impossible 
to still the thought, " Did his imagination's eye peer 
through the mist of years and see the gray and solemn pile 
which is now the temple? " 

But that July night when Brigham Young struck his cane 
on the ground was in 1847, and nothing was done toward 
building the temple until six years afterward. Still it is 
doubtful if the original intention had ever been abandoned. 

At first it was intended to build it of adobe, but when a 
mountain of granite, fine in its quality and most beautiful 
in color, was found some miles from the city, that material 


was substituted. On a panel just above the second-story 
window of the east end of the temple is this inscription: 









Below the word " completed " there is a blank line where, 
when the last piece of stone has been chiseled and the fres- 
coer has applied the last touch of his brush, a date will be 
cut into the marble slab. That date may not be inscribed 
for two or three years yet, for there is still very much to do 
on the interior. 

April 6, 1853, was a bright day in the history of Zion. 
Not only was the semi-annual conference of the Mormon 
church in session, but the corner-stone of the great temple 
was to be laid with imposing ceremonies. The first com- 
pany of Mormon pioneers to enter the Salt Lake Valley 
only numbered 143, but six years afterward the city had a 
population of nearly 6,000 people. It was a city, too, pe- 
culiar and unique in its customs and the character of its resi- 
dents. By that time Utah had many large settlements, and 
from the most remote of these the saints came to assemble 
at the center stake of Zion. They came wearing their 
brightest and best garments and their happiest faces. Pre- 
sumably their souls were possessed of that sweet peace 
which passeth all understanding. A grand procession was 
formed in honor of the ceremony about to be celebrated. 

An old program of that parade, and the exercises of the 
day, is yet in existence, and it is notable that the church dig- 



nitaries were the most conspicuous figures in the pageant. 
There were the presidents, apostles, and bishops, the high 
priests, the counselors, the elders, and all the lesser degrees 
of Mormon ecclesiastical authorities. 

Flags were flying, bands were playing — there were two 
bands in Utah, even then. Four corner-stones were laid, 
four dedicatory prayers offered, in which the Almighty was 
invoked to bless the building then begun, and four orations 
were delivered. 

There are many conflicting stories in regard to the 
designer of the temple. A man by the name of Truman C. 
Angell was the first architect, and he drew the plans, but it 
was in the fertile genius of Brigham Young that the ideas 
of form and arrangement were conceived. These he sub- 
mitted to Angell, who elaborated them. Doubtless Brig- 
ham had based his conceptions on the descriptions he had 
read of Solomon's temple, but however much of the plans 
he may have cribbed, to him belongs the credit. He 
claimed the design of the temple, even to the smallest 
detail, had been given him by a revelation from God. 

Angell devoted his life to this building. After him two 
or three others directed the construction, but for the past 
four or five years Don Carlos Young, a son of Brigham's, 
has been the architect. 

For many years the progress was exceedingly slow. The 
foundations were sunk sixteen feet below the surface. 
There was a great yawning hole to be filled with rock, 
every one of which had to be pulled by ox teams. Many 
people remember how slowly the building rose. They say 
it was several years before the walls could be seen above 
ground. But there was no hurry and nothing was slighted, 
for the temple when completed was intended to be as 
enduring as the mountains from which the stone it was 
built of was quarried. 


No better illustration of the infinite patience, the cease- 
less industry, and the religious zeal of the Mormon people 
could be given than they have manifested in this work. It 
was a stupendous undertaking. They possessed no modern 
mechanical appliances; everything had to be done by the 
crudest methods. Considering these difficulties, and the 
immense character of the work, it inspires wonder and 

The temple quarries are in a mountain-walled canon 
called Little Cottonwood, twenty-two miles from the city. 
For many years, or until 1872, every stone had to be hauled 
that distance by ox teams. The wagons were especially 
constructed for that purpose, and some of the stones were 
so large that four or five yoke were required to pull the 
load. How slow and expensive a building of this magni- 
tude must have been, when such methods were employed, 
can readily be appreciated. But in 1872 a branch railroad 
was built from the Temple Square to the quarries; since then 
the construction has been more rapid and less expensive. 

Figures only give a suggestion of its gigantic propor- 
tions. It is only when seen from a distance that its mas- 
siveness manifests itself. Then it towers above the other 
tall buildings of the city like a mountain above the level 
plain — it stands out solemn, grand, majestic, and alone. It 
is 99 feet wide and 200 feet long. The four corner towers 
are 188 feet high; to the top of the central western tower is 
204 feet. The main, or eastern tower, is 211 feet to the 
top of the great granite globe, and on that the statue of 
the angel Gabriel stands, the figure itself being 14 feet 
high. Above all these points are the supplementary spires, 
on which the electric lights will be fixed. The lights on 
these sky-piercing spires will be interesting, for they will 
be so powerful as to penetrate the darkest corner of the 
valley, and will be like unto a beacon to a watching mari- 


nci'. That on the main, or eastern spire, will be placed 
below the statue of the angel, and will be reflected upward, 
surrounding the figure with a brilliant halo. 

In the designing of the temple, no startling architectural 
innovations seem to have been attempted. The exterior 
has a poverty of ornamentation, yet perhaps that is the most 
attractive feature. But the interior is exceedingly interest- 
ing. There are all manner of eccentricities and queer unex- 
pected places. In the four corner towers are winding stone 
staircases reaching to the roof, each having 250 steps. 
These were all cut by hand at a cost of $100 apiece, and 
they are anchored in walls of solid masonry. The largest 
room is in the top story, and is So x ico feet and 36 feet 
high. This is to be used as an assemby hall, and will have 
a capacity to seat 1,000 people. The other rooms are much 
smaller. There is the fount-room, where baptisms are per- 
formed, for the Mormons, like the Baptists, believe in 
immersion. They baptize for the remission of sins, and 
the living, acting as proxies, are baptized for the dead. 

As understood, if a person has some dear friend or rela- 
tive who has passed into the beyond without having had 
the saving rite of baptism administered, the living can 
attend to that little formality so as to insure the dead a 
peaceful sojourn in the agreeable climate of the hereafter? 

The uninitiated do not understand the purposes of Mor- 
mon temples. They are not intended to be used for public 
worship. Services of that character are never held in them. 
They are designed to be used for the meeting of the priest- 
hood and for the performances of ordinances and cere- 
monies of marriage, baptisms, etc., and for the administer- 
ing of ecclesiastical rites — the conferring of priestly degrees. 

Thousands of people have seen this great monument 
which has been built by this peculiar people to their more 
peculiar religion, and have described the impressions it 


made on them. Some, in a too-pronounced enthusiasm, 
have declared it to be a wonder in architecture — a triumph 
in its way — as something grand, almost marvelous in its 
conception. It is not. There is little that is exceptionally 
remarkable about it. True, there is much to impress one, 
but it is rather its bigness and general appearance of 
solemnity than anything else. Then there is something in 
its historical associations, the great difficulties overcome, 
and the great zeal displayed in its construction that inspires 

Rudyard Kipling, who once saw it, in a vein of his keen- 
est satire characterized it as "architecturally atrocious, 
ugly, villainously discordant, contemptuously correct, alto- 
gether inartistic and unpoetical," and other adjectives 
equally as forcible and uncomplimentary. But he was 
probably more severe than just in his criticism. There is 
nothing about it to shock the artistic eye, and there are a 
few things to please. 

A word about the statue that is perched on the topmost 
pinnacle. Certainly that is pleasing to the artistic soul. It 
is the work of a finished sculptor, who is even now not 
wholly unknown to fame. He is C. E. Dallin, and was 
born in Salt Lake City not much over thirty years ago. 
But the statue: It is not of marble, but of hammered 
copper, covered with gold. To the eye it looks as if it 
were made entirely of that metal. It is a very fascinating 
piece of work, and on its high pedestal it glistens in the 
sunlight as if made of fire. One prominent Mormon has 
said the statue is not intended to represent Gabriel, but the 
angel Moroni proclaiming the gospel to all the world. It 
was the angel Moroni, it will be remembered, who showed 
the golden plates to Joseph Smith from which the Book of 
Mormon was written. 

From Dallin's boyhood he began to display the artistic 


bent and temperament of his nature. Before he ever had 
any instruction, he modeled in clay with such success as to 
attract attention to his work. Then he went abroad to 
study, and at the Paris Salon of 1888 he received the medal 
of "Honorable Merit" for his " Peace Signal." that being 
a full-sized figure of an Indian brave on horseback holding 
his lance in such a manner as to be a signal to his fellow 
warriors at a distance that all was well. He has also done 
other meritorious work, and is at present engaged on a 
statue to be built on one of the corners of the Temple 
Square in honor of Brigham Young and the Mormon 

There have been many extravagant statements made 
concerning the cost of this temple. Figures have been 
placed as high as $6,000,000, which is nearly double its 
actual cost. As it stands to-day, $3,000,000 have probably 
been expended, and not more than half a million will be 
required to complete it. 

The laying of this cap-stone practically completes the 
temple. There is not another stone to be laid, all that 
remains to be done being confined to the interior, and that 
is mostly in a decorative way. In its fulfillment there is 
great rejoicing in the hearts of the Mormon people. It has 
been a work requiring the toil of years, the manifestation 
of much self-denial, and the display of religious earnestness 
and sincerity almost without a parallel. 



When I grew up and became a married man, with 
daughters who were to be clothed and educated, I found it 
impossible to make, with the labor of one man on a farm, 
sufficient money to meet my growing necessities. I was 
raised on a farm and had always been a farmer, but with 
increasing expenses I was compelled to go into business of 
some kind, where I could accumulate a sufficiency for such 

As I was brought up to handle animals, and had been 
employed more or less in the teaming business, after look- 
ing the situation all over, it occurred to me there was 
nothing I was so well adapted for by my past experience as 
the freighting business that was then being conducted be- 
tween Independence, Mo., and Santa Fe, New Mexico, a 
distance of 800 miles. 

At that time almost the entire distance lay through 
Indian Territory, where we were likely, on a greater portion 
of the trail, to meet hostile Indians any moment. 

Being a religious man and opposed to all kinds of pro- 
fanity, and knowing the practice of teamsters, almost with- 
out an exception, was to use profane and vulgar language, 
and to travel upon the Sabbath day, another difficulty pre- 
sented itself to my mind which had to be overcome. 

After due reflection on this subject I resolved in my 
innermost nature, by the help of God, I would overcome aU 
difficulties that presented themselves to my mind, let the 
hazard be whatever it might. This resolve I carried out, 

(71 I 


and it was the keynote to my great success in the manage- 
ment of men and animals. 

Having reached this determination, and being ready to 
embark in my new business, I formulated a code of rules 
for the behavior of my employes, which read as follows: 

"While I am in the employ of A. Majors, I agree not to 
use profane language, not to get drunk, not to gamble, not 
to treat animals cruelly, and not to do anything else that is 
incompatible with the conduct of a gentleman. And I 
agree, if I violate any of the above conditions, to accept 
my discharge without any pay for my services." 

I do not remember a single instance of a man signing 
these "iron-clad rules," as they called them, being dis- 
charged without his pay. My employes seemed to under- 
stand in the beginning of their term of service that their 
good behavior was part of the recompense they gave me 
for the money I paid them. 

A few years later, when the Civil War had commenced, I 
bound my employes to pay true allegiance to the Govern- 
ment of the United States, while in my employ, in addition 
to the above. 

I will say to my readers that, had I had the experience of 
a thousand years, I could not have formulated a better 
code of rules for the government of my business than those 
adopted, looking entirely from a moral standpoint. The 
result proved to be worth more to me in a money point of 
view than that resulting from any other course I could 
have pursued, for with the enforcement of these rules, 
which I had little trouble to do, a few years gave me con- 
trol of the business of the plains and, of course, a wide- 
spread reputation for conducting business on a humane 

I can state with truthfulness that never in the history of 
freighting on the plains did such quiet, gentlemanly, fra- 


ternal feelings exist as among the men who were in my em- 
ploy and governed by these rules. 

It was the prevalent opinion, previous to the time I 
started across the plains, that none but daring, rough men 
were fit to contend with the Indians and manage teamsters 
upon those trips. I soon proved to the entire contrary this 
was a great mistake, for it was soon observable that both 
men and animals working under this system were superior, 
and got along better in every way than those working 
under the old idea of ruffianism. 

It is my firm conviction that where men are born com- 
manders or managers there is no need of the cruelty and 
punishment so often dealt out by so many in authority. 
With men who have the key of government in their natures 
there is little trouble in getting employes to conform strictly 
to their duty. 

I have seen, to my great regret and dislike, such cruelty 
practiced by army officers in command, and managers upon 
steamships on the seas and steamboats on the rivers, as 
well as other places where men were in charge of their fellow 
beings and had command over them, as should receive the 
most outspoken protest, and ought not to be tolerated in 

If men in charge would first control themselves and carry 
out, in their management of others, the true principles of 
humanity and kindness, pursuing a firm and consistent 
course of conduct themselves, wearing at the same time an 
easy and becoming dignity, it would do away with all the 
cruelties that have so often shocked humanity and caused 
needless suffering to those who were compelled to endure 
them. I found that an ounce of dignity on the plains was 
worth more than a pound at home or in organized society. 

With all the thousands of men I had in my employ it 
was never necessary to do more than give a manly rebuke, 


if any one committed any misdemeanor, to avoid a 
repetition of the offense. 

In all my vast business on the plains I adhered strictly 
as possible to keeping the Sabbath day, and avoided 
traveling or doing any unnecessary work. This fact enabled 
me to carry out perfectly the " iron-clad rules " with my 
employes. When they saw I was willing to pay them the 
same price as that paid for work including the Sabbath day, 
and let them rest on that day, it made them feel I was 
consistent in requiring them to conduct themselves as 

In later years, when my business had so increased and 
the firm of Majors & Russell was formed, I insisted on 
carrying my system of government and management into 
the business of the new firm, and the same course was pur- 
sued by the firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell as I have 
above narrated. 

Notwithstanding the disagreeable features mentioned, I 
selected this avocation, and on the 10th day of August, 
1848, with my first little outfit of six wagons and teams, 
started in business. 

At that time it was considered hazardous to start on a 
trip of that kind so late in the season; but I made that 
trip with remarkable success, making the round run in ninety- 
two days, the quickest on record with ox teams, many of 
my oxen being in such good condition when I returned as 
to look as though they had not been on the road. This 
fact gave me quite a reputation among the freighters and 
merchants who were engaged in business between the two 
points above mentioned. 

I was by no means the first to engage in the trade 
between Mexico and the United States, for as early as 
1822 Captain Rockwell started in the trade, carrying goods 
in packs on mules. 


The next notable era in the line of this trade was the 
introduction of wagons in the year 1824. This, of course, 
was an experiment, as there were no beaten roads, and the 
sand on some portions of the route was so deep (the worst 
part being in the valley of the Cimarron) that it was 
doubted whether wagons could be used with success. But 
the experiment proved to be so much superior to packing 
that it did away entirely with the former mode; and wagon- 
makers at St. Louis and Independence, Mo., commenced to 
build wagons adapted solely to that trade. 

It was not long after the adoption of wagon trains on 
that route until there was a wide and well-beaten road the 
entire distance, the country over which it passed being 
level plains, requiring no bridges; but little work of any 
kind was necessary to keep the thoroughfare in good trav- 
eling condition. 

On a large portion of the route there was an abundance 
of grass and water for the work animals. In those early 
days a belt of at least 400 miles was covered with herds of 

This crossing with large and heavy trains so well estab- 
lished the route that, by the year 1846, the people on the 
west border of Missouri were equipped and prepared in 
every way for transporting the supplies for Colonel Doni- 
phan's army, when he was ordered to cross from Fort 
Leavenworth, Kan., to Santa Fe, N. M., at the commence- 
ment of the war between the United States and Mexico. 

To return to my own operations in the freighting busi- 
ness, it will be seen by the foregoing dates mentioned in 
this article that" two years later I made my first start, and 
I met on my outward-bound trip many of the troops of 
Colonel Doniphan returning home, the war being over and 
peace having been made between the two countries. 

I continued in the freighting business continuously from 


1848 to 1866, most of the time in the employ of the United 
States Government, carrying stores to different forts and 
stations in the Western Territories, New Mexico, Colorado, 
and Utah. Having freighted on my own account for about 
seven years, in 1855 I went into partnership with Messrs. 
Russell & Waddell, residents of Lexington, Lafayette 
County, Mo., my home being still in Jackson County, Mo. 
We did business three years under the firm name of Majors 
& Russell. In 1858, when we obtained a contract from the 
Government for transporting supplies to Utah, the name of 
the firm was changed to Russell, Majors & Waddell. 

At this time freighting for the Government had increased 
enormously on account of General Johnston, with an army, 
having been sent to Utah. All of the supplies for the sol- 
diers and much of the grain for the animals had to be 
transported in wagons from the Missouri River. However, 
one of the conditions of the contract the firm made with 
the Government, through the Quartermaster-General at 
Washington, was that they should have another starting- 
point other than Fort Leavenworth, the established depot 
for supplies going west. 

I made this proposition to General Jessup, knowing, 
from my long experience in handling that kind of busi- 
ness, that it would be next to impossible to handle the sup- 
plies from one depot, as there were not herding grounds 
within a reasonable distance to keep such a vast number of 
cattle as the business would require when conducted from 
one point. 

My partner, Mr. Russell, remarked to me that if he had 
to make a station higher up the river I would have to go 
and attend to it, for he could not. My answer was I would 
willingly do so, for I knew that loading hundreds of thou- 
sands of pounds of supplies daily would create a confusion 
at one point as would retard the business. 


It was then and there agreed between the quartermaster 
and ourselves that one-half the entire stores should be sent 
to another point to be selected by his clerk and myself. 

Immediately after the contract was signed I went to Fort 
Leavenworth, and with Lieutenant Dubarry of the Quar- 
termaster's Department set out to locate another point. 
We traveled up the Missouri River as far as Plattsmouth, 
when we concluded Nebraska City, Neb., was the most 
available point upon the river for our business. I at once 
arranged with the citizens of that town to build warehouses, 
preparatory to receiving the large quantities of supplies the 
Government would soon begin to ship to that point. 

The supplies sent to Utah in the year 1858 were enor- 
mous, being over sixteen million pounds, requiring over 
three thousand five hundred large wagons and teams to 
transport them. We found it was as much as we could do 
to meet the Government requirements with the two points 
in full operation. 

As agreed, I took charge of the new station and moved 
my family from my farm, nine miles south of Kansas City, 
Mo., to Nebraska City, where I bought a home for them 
and commenced to carry out my part of the agreement. 

The firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell conducted the 
business for two years, and in the spring of i860 I bought 
out my partners and continued the business in my own 
name that year. 

In Nebraska City I found a very intelligent, enterprising, 
and clever people, among whom were S. F. Knuckle, J. 
Sterling Morton, Robert Hawk Dillon, Colonel Tewksberry, 
McCann, Metcalf, Rhodes, O. P. Mason, Judge Kinney, 
Rinkers, Seigle, and a great many others of integrity and 
enterprise. I never did business more pleasantly than with 
the gentlemen whom I met during my residence of nine 
years there. 



To one who has had to make friends of the brute crea- 
tion, it is natural for him to claim companionship with 
those domestic animals with which he is constantly drawn 
by day and night, such as horses, oxen, mules, and dogs. 
The clog is most thoroughly the comrade of those who 
dwell upon the frontier, and a chapter regarding them will 
not, I feel, be uninteresting to the reader. 

I have always been a great admirer of a good dog, but 
my knowledge of them is a general one, such as you and a 
great many other Western men have. I have never made 
him a scientific study, but I think he is the only domestic 
animal, and I don't know but the only animal that takes a 
joint ownership in all of his master's property so far as he 
can comprehend it, whether it be personal, portable, or 
realistic; in other words, the man owns the dog and his 
other property, and the dog seems to claim or own the man 
and all of his other effects, so far as he can comprehend 

I had a Shepherd dog that would not allow a stranger to 
take hold of me or my horse, saddle, bridle, rope, spurs, 
gun, or anything else that he thought belonged to us, with- 
out making a fuss about it, and he seemed to think step- 
ping upon a rope or blanket, or anything of that kind, was 
just the same as taking hold with the hands, and yet he 
was very good-natured with strangers otherwise. 

He was very fond of playing with other dogs, especially 
young ones on the pup order, but if they ever took any 
. . (78) 


freedom with our joint property, there was sure to be 
trouble. He would not allow them to take hold of, or sleep 
on, or lay down in the shade of a horse, wagon, buggy, or 
do anything that he thought was taking too much liberty 
with his peculiar rights. He would go almost any distance 
to hunt anything that I would lose, and was very quick to 
pick up anything that I would drop, and give it to me with- 
out mussing it, whether I was walking or on horseback. 

He was a good retriever, either on land or water, and 
would cross a river to get a goose or duck if it fell on the 
opposite side after being shot. He would also take hold 
of one hind leg of a deer or antelope and help me all he 
could to drag it home or to where I would leave my horse, 
but he was more help in driving and handling stock than 
in any other way. He would also go after a horse that 
would get away, with a bridle or rope on, and catch him 
by the rein or rope and bring him back if he could lead 
him, or if not, he would try and hold on until I would come 
up. He had a great many other minor tricks to make 
sport for the boys in camp, such as speaking, jumping, 
waltzing, etc., and he would also carry in wood to make 
fires with, and thus save the men trouble. 

I have also had experience with the Newfoundland and 
the Setter dogs, and found them fully as easy to train and as 
faithful as the Shepherd dog I have written about. A 
Newfoundland that I brought down from Montana with 
me would do almost anything that it was possible for a dog 
to do. When living in Salt Lake City I saw my daughter 
send him after an apple once when she was sitting in a 
room up stairs. He went down and found the doors all 
fastened, so he came back and went out at an upstairs win- 
dow and onto a lower roof and from there down on a com- 
mon rung ladder to the ground and out into some one's 
orchard, got an apple, and returned the same way, and did 


it quicker than any boy could possibly have performed the 
same thing. But of course he knew where the ladder was, 
and had climbed up and down it many times before that. 
I used to see the children in our neighborhood sending 
this dog over in the orchards after apples, while they 
remained at the fence outside, and he would keep going 
and returning with the apples until they were satisfied. 
The people never objected that owned the fruit, as they 
thought it so smart in the dog to steal for the children 
that which he did not eat himself. 

It came to my knowledge once of a dumb beast that 
showed the intelligence of a human being. 

He was only a dog, but a remarkably clever one. He 
belonged to the class known as Shepherd dogs, which are 
noted for their sagacity and fidelity. His master was 
a little Italian boy called Beppo, who earned his living by 
selling flowers on the street. 

Tony was very fond of Beppo, who had been his master 
ever since he was a puppy, and Beppo had never failed to 
share his crust with his good dog. Now, Tony had grown 
to be a large, strong dog, and took as much care of Beppo 
as Beppo took of him. Often while standing on the corner 
with his basket on his arm, waiting for a customer, Beppo 
would feel inclined to cry from very loneliness; but Tony 
seemed to know when the "blues" came, and would lick 
his master's hand, as much as to say: " You've got me for 
a friend. Cheer up! I'm better than nobody; I'll stand by 

But one day it happened that when the other boys who 
shared the dark cellar home with Beppo went out early in 
the morning as usual, Beppo was so ill that he could 
hardly lift his head from the straw on which he slept. He 
felt that he would be unable to sell flowers that day. 
What to do he did not know. Tony. did his best to com- 


fort him, but the tears would gather in his eyes, and it was 
with the greatest difficulty that he at last forced himself to 
get up and go to the florist, who lived near by, for the 
usual supply of buds. 

Having filled his basket, the boy went home again and 
tied it around Tony's neck; then he looked at the dog and 
said: "Now, Tony, you're the only fellow I've got to 
depend on. Go and sell my flowers for me, and bring the 
money home safe; don't let anyone steal anything." 

Then he kissed the dog and pointed to the door. 

Tony trotted out to the street to Beppo's usual corner, 
where he took his stand. Beppo's customers soon saw how 
matters stood, and chose their flowers, and put their 
money into the tin cup in the center of the basket. Now 
and then, when a rude boy would come along and try to 
snatch a flower from the basket, Tony would growl fiercely 
and drive him away. 

So that day went safely by, and at nightfall Tony went 
home to his master, who was waiting anxiously for him, 
and gave him a hearty welcome. Beppo untied the basket 
and looked in the cup, and I should not wonder if he found 
more money in it than ever before. This is how Tony sold 
the rosebuds, and he did it so well that Beppo never tired 
of telling me about it. 

A farmer's dog who had been found guilty of obtaining 
goods under false pretenses is worthy of mention. He 
was extremely fond of sausages, and had been taught by 
his owner to go after them for him, carrying a written 
order in his mouth. Day after day he appeared at the 
butcher-shop, bringing his master's order, and by and by 
the butcher became careless about reading the document. 
Finally, when settlement day came, the farmer complained 
that he was charged with more sausage than he had 
ordered. The butcher was surprised, and the next time 


Lion came in with a slip of paper between his teeth he took 
the trouble to look at it. The paper was blank, and 
further investigation showed that whenever the dog felt a 
craving for sausage, he looked around for a piece of paper, 
and trotted off to the butcher's. The farmer is something 
out of pocket, but squares the account by boasting of the 
dog's intelligence, which enabled him to deliberately steal 
for him, and deceive the butcher to do so. 

While in Edinburgh, Scotland, where my wife and I 
remained for a year, our apartments were cared for by an 
English maid, who owned a very fine Scotch terrier. 
Whenever she would come to our rooms the dog accom- 
panied her, and soon became very much attached to me, 
and would come into our apartments whenever an oppor- 
tunity offered, to pay his respects to me. My wife had a 
great aversion to dogs of all kinds, and particularly 
objected to having one in the room with her, as she 
declared she could feel fleas immediately upon the appear- 
ance of a canine, no matter how far away they were from 

One morning, while I was quietly reading, my wife being 
busy in another part of the room, the dog slipped in and 
succeeded in establishing himself under my chair, without 
either of us being aware of his presence; but before many 
minutes had passed my wife discovered him, and remon- 
strated with me at once for allowing him to come in, when 
I knew so well how she detested him. I assured her of 
my ignorance as to his presence, but said nothing whatever 
to the dog. He arose with a crest-fallen air, and with his 
tail tucked between his legs, walked slowly across the 
room, stopping in the doorway to look once at Mrs. 
Majors, with the most reproachful, abused expression I 
have ever seen on any creature's face. 

After that he always endeavored to make his calls upon 


me when Mrs. Majors was absent, and would often come 
up and wait in one end of the hall until he would see her 
go into the adjoining room, when he would come to see 
me, but immediately upon hearing her opening the door of 
the other room, he would make a break for the door, mak- 
ing his escape before she would reach the room; and this, 
too, when she had never been unkind to him except in 
what she said of him. 

One morning while the landlady and her servant were 
"doing up" our sleeping apartment, the dog as usual 
accompanying the servant, Mrs. Majors stepped into the 
room to speak to the landlady, and the servant, knowing 
the clog's fondness for me, said: 

'•Prince, ask Mrs. Majors if you can't go in to see Mr. 
Majors." He turned around, went up to Mrs. Majors and 
commenced jumping up and down in front of her, asking 
as plain as dogs can speak for the coveted permission. My 
wife could not help laughing, and said, " Well, sir, you have 
won me over this time; you can go," whereupon he made a 
rush for the other room, leaped upon my lap, and seemed 
fairly wild with joy. I could not understand his unusual 
demonstrations until Mrs. Majors came in and explained. 

A friend who owned a very fine dog was one morning 
accosted by a neighbor, who accused the dog of having 
killed several of his sheep in the night. The owner said 
he thought it was a mistake, as he had never known the 
dog to be guilty of such tricks, and after some discussion 
it was decided to examine the dog's mouth, and if wool 
was found sticking in his teeth, they would believe him 
guilty, and the man who had lost the sheep could kill him. 
They called the dog up while talking about it, and the 
master opened his mouth, and to his grief, found the evi- 
dence of his crime between his teeth. The neighbor knew 
the man's attachment for the dog, and not wishing to kill 


him in his presence, said he would defer the execution until 
a more convenient time. The dog heard the conversation, 
appeared to understand the situation perfectly, and when 
the neighbor tried later to find him, he had disappeared, 
and neither the owner nor the neighbor ever heard of him 
again. He fled to parts unknown, thus showing his wis- 
dom by putting himself out of harm's way. 

It is hardly possible to say enough in the praise of the 
dog family, especially regarding their services to the pioneers 
in the settlement of the Mississippi Valley and frontier. 
At that time, bears, panthers, wolves, and small animals of 
prey were so thick that without the aid of dogs the stock, 
such as pigs, lambs, poultry, and such small animals, would 
have been completely destroyed in one single night. The 
dogs were constantly on guard, night and day, storm or 
sunshine, and upon the approach of an enemy, would warn 
the pioneers, giving them a sense of security against danger. 
They knew by the smell, often before hearing or seeing an 
enemy, and would give out the warning long before the 
pioneers themselves could have known of the proximity of 
the wild beasts. As a rule those faithful friends and pro- 
tectors of our race have not been appreciated, more espe- 
cially, as above stated, in the settlement of the frontier, for 
without them it would have been impossible for the pioneers 
to have saved their stock and poultry from the ravages of 
the wild beasts. I could write a volume upon the sagacity, 
faithfulness, and intelligence of these remarkable animals, 
as during my life in the Wild West I learned to fully appre- 
ciate them. 



On the 18th of June, 1846, A. W. Doniphan was elected 
colonel of the regiment that he commanded in the Mexi- 
can War. In his speech at Independence, Jackson County, 
Mo., on July 29, 1837, he declared he had not been a can- 
didate for office for seven years, and did not expect to be 
for the next seventy years to come. The passage by the 
American Congress of the resolutions of annexation, by 
which the republic of Texas was incorporated into the 
Union as one of the States, having merged her sovereignty 
into that of our own Government, was the prime cause 
which led to the war with Mexico. However, the more 
immediate cause of the war may be traced to the occupa- 
tion by the American army of the strip of disputed terri- 
tory lying between the Nueces and the Rio Grande. 

Bigoted and insulting, Mexico was always prompt to 
manifest her hostility toward this Government, and sought 
the earliest plausible pretext for declaring war against the 
United States. This declaration of war by the Mexican 
government, which bore date in April, 1846, was quickly 
and spiritedly followed by a manifesto from our Congress 
at Washington, announcing that a state of war existed 
between Mexico and the United States. Soon after this 
counter declaration, the Mexicans crossed the Rio 
Grande in strong force, headed by the famous generals, 
Arista and Ampudia. This force, as is well known, was 
defeated at Palo Alto on the iSth, and at Resaca de la 
Palma on May 9, 1846, by the troops under command 



of Major-General Taylor, and repulsed with great slaugh- 
ter. The whole Union was in a state of intense excite- 
ment. General Taylor's recent and glorious victories 
were the constant theme of universal admiration. The 
war had actually begun; and that, too, in a manner 
which demanded immediate action. The United States 
Congress passed an act about the middle of May, 1846, 
authorizing President Polk to call into the field 50,000 vol* 
unteers designed to operate against Mexico at three distinct 
points, namely: The southern wing, or the "Army of Occu- 
pation," commanded by Major-General Taylor, to penetrate 
directly into the heart of the country; the column under 
Brigadier-General Wool, or the " Army of the Center," to 
operate against the city of Chihuahua; and the expedi- 
tion under the command of Colonel (afterward Brigadier- 
General) Kearney, known as the "Army of the West," to 
direct its march upon the city of Santa Fe. This was the 
original plan of operations against Mexico, but subse- 
quently the plan was changed. Major-General Scott, with 
a well-appointed army, was sent to Vera Cruz, General 
Wool effected a junction with General Taylor at Saltillo, 
and General Kearney divided his force into three separate 
commands; the first he led in person to the distant shores 
of the Pacific. A detachment of nearly eleven hundred Mis- 
souri volunteers, under command of Col. A. W. Doniphan, 
was ordered to make a descent upon the State of Chihua- 
hua, expecting to join General Wool's division at the capi- 
tal, while the greater part was left as a garrison at Santa 
Fe, under command of Col. Sterling Price. The greatest 
eagerness was manifested by the citizens of the United 
States to engage in the war, to redress our wrongs, to repel 
an insulting foe, and to vindicate our national honor and 
the honor of our oft-insulted flag. 

The call of the President was promptly responded to, 


but of the 50,000 volunteers at first authorized to be raised, 
the service of about 17,000 only were required. The cruel 
an inhuman butchery of Colonel Fannin and his men, all 
Americans, the subsequent and indiscriminate murder of 
all Texans who unfortunately fell into Mexican hands; the 
repeated acts of cruelty and injustice perpetrated upon the 
persons and property of American citizens residing in the 
northern Mexican provinces; the imprisonment of Ameri- 
can merchants without the semblance of a trial by jury, 
and the forcible seizure and confiscation of their goods; 
the robbing of American travelers and tourists in the 
Mexican country of their passports and other means of 
safety, whereby they were in certain instances deprived of 
their liberty for a time; the forcible detention of American 
citizens, sometimes in prison and other times in free 
custody; the recent blockade of the Mexican ports against 
the United States trade; the repeated insults offered our 
national flag; the contemptuous ill treatment of our minis- 
ters, some of whom were spurned with their credentials; 
the supercilious and menacing air uniformly manifested 
toward the Government, which with characteristic forbear- 
ance and courtesy had endeavored to maintain a friendly 
understanding; Mexico's hasty and unprovoked declara- 
tion of war against the United States; the army's uncere- 
monious passage of the Rio Grande in strong force and 
with hostile intentions; her refusal to pay indemnities, and 
a complication of lesser evils, all of which had been per- 
petrated by the Mexican authorities, or by unauthorized 
Mexican citizens, in a manner which clearly evinced the 
determination on the part of Mexico to terminate the 
amicable relations hitherto existing between the two coun- 
tries, were the causes which justified the war. 

On the 18th day of August, 1846, after a tiresome march 
of nearly 900 miles in less than fifty days, General Kearney 


with his whole command entered Santa Fe, the capital of 
the province of New Mexico, and took peaceable possession 
of the country, without the loss of a single man or shedding 
a drop of blood, in the name of the United States, and 
planted the American flag in the public square, where the 
stars and stripes and eagle streamed above the Palacio 
Grande, or stately residence of ex-Governor Armigo. 

On the 29th of July, 1847, Captain Ruff was dispatched 
by General Smith with a squadron composed of one com- 
pany of the Second Dragoons under Lieutenant Hawesand 
his own company of mounted riflemen, in all eighty-six men, 
to attack the town of San Juan de los Lianos. In this 
engagement the Mexicans lost forty-three killed and fifty 
wounded. Only one American was wounded and none 
killed. At the battle of San Pascual, on the morning of the 
6th of December, General Kearney commanding, with Cap- 
tains Johnson, Moore, and Hammond as principal aids, 
drove the enemy from the field. Loss not known. Ameri- 
can loss, seventeen killed and fourteen wounded. On the 
5th of November, 1846, a small detachment of forty-five 
volunteers, commanded by Captains Thompson and Bur- 
rows, met and totally defeated 200 Californians on the 
plains of Salinas, near Monterey. American loss, four 
killed and two wounded. On the 8th of January Gen- 
eral Kearney and Commodore Stockton, with 500 men, met 
the insurgents, 600 strong, to dispute the passage of the 
river San Gabriel. This action lasted one hour and a half. 
The next day the Mexicans were again repulsed. Their 
loss on both days estimated in killed and wounded not less 
than eighty-five; American, two killed and fifteen wounded. 
A battle commanded by Doniphan was fought on Christ- 
mas day at Brazito, twenty-five miles from El Paso. Mex- 
ican loss was seventy-one killed, five prisoners, and 150 
wounded, among them their commanding general, Ponce 


de Leon. The Americans had none killed and eight 
wounded. On the 27th the city of El Paso was taken 
possession of without further opposition. On the 13th a 
battle with the Indians occurred. Americans lost none; 
Indians had seventeen killed and not less than twenty-five 
wounded. On the 19th of January, Governor Bent was 
murdered with his retinue. On the 24th Colonel Rice 
encountered the enemy. Our loss was two killed and 
seven wounded. The Mexicans acknowledged a loss of 
thirty-six killed and forty-five prisoners. On the 3d of 
February, met the enemy at Pueblo de Taos. The total loss 
of the Mexicans at the three engagements was 282 killed — 
wounded unknown. Our total was fifteen killed and forty- 
seven wounded. On the 24th, in an engagement at Las 
Vegas, the enemy had twenty-five killed, three wounded; 
our loss, one killed, three wounded. At Red River Canon 
we were vigorously attacked by a large body of Mexicans 
and Indians; Americans lost one killed and several 
wounded; Mexicans and Indians, seventeen killed, 
wounded not known. At Las Vegas Major Edmondson 
charged the town; there were ten Mexicans slain and fifty 
prisoners taken. On the 9th of July a detachment of 
Captain Morin's company was attacked; five of our men 
killed and nine wounded. On the 26th of June Lieutenant 
Love was attacked and surrounded by Indians; they cut 
their way through with a loss of eleven; the Indians lost 
twenty-five. On the 27th of October Captain Mann's 
train was attacked; American loss, one killed, four 
wounded; Indian loss not known. 

doniphan's expedition. 

On Sunday, the 28th of February, a bright and auspi- 
cious day, the American army, under Colonel Doniphan, 
arrived in sight of the Mexican encampment at Sacra- 
mento, which could be distinctly seen at the distance of 
four miles. His command consisted of the following corps 
and detachments of troops: 

The First Regiment, Colonel Doniphan, numbering 
about eight hundred men; Lieutenant-Colonel Mitchell's 
escort, ninety-seven men; artillery battalion, Major Clark 
and Captain Weightman, 117 men, with light field battery 
of six pieces of cannon; and two companies of teamsters, 
under Captains Skillman and Glasgow, forming an extra 
battalion of about one hundred and fifty men, commanded 
by Major Owens of Independence, making an aggregate 
force of 1,164 men, all Missouri volunteers. The march 
of the day was conducted in the following order: The 
wagons, near four hundred in all, were thrown in four 
parallel files, with spaces of thirty feet beween each. In 
the center space marched the artillery battalion; in 
the space to the right the First Battalion, and in the 
space to the left the Second Battalion. Masking these, 
in front marched the three companies intending to act 
as cavalry — the Missouri Horse Guards, under Captain 
Reid, on the right; the Missouri Dragoons, under Captain 
Parsons, on the left; and the Chihuahua Rangers, under 
Captain Hudson, in the center. Thus arranged, they ap- 
proached the scene of action. 


doniphan's expedition. 91 

The enemy had occupied the brow of a rocky eminence 
rising upon a plateau between the river Sacramento and 
the Arroya Seca, and near the Sacramento Fort, eighteen 
miles from Chihuahua, and fortified its approaches by a line 
of field-works, consisting of twenty-eight strong redoubts 
and intrenchments. Here, in this apparently secure posi- 
tion, the Mexicans had determined to make a bold stand, 
for the pass was the key to the capital. So certain of the 
victory were the Mexicans, that they had prepared strings 
and handcuffs in which they meant to drive us prisoners to 
the City of Mexico, as they did the Texans in 1841. Thus 
fortified and intrenched, the Mexican army, consisting, 
according to a consolidated report of the adjutant-general 
which came into Colonel Doniphan's possession after the 
battle, of 4,220 men, commanded by Major-General Jose A. 
Heredia, aided by Gen. Garcia Conde, former Minister of 
War in Mexico, as commander of cavalry; General Mau- 
ricia Ugarte, commander of infantry; General Justiniani, 
commander of artillery, and Gov. Angel Trias, brigadier- 
general, commanding the Chihuahua Volunteers, awaited 
the approach of the Americans. 

When Colonel Doniphan arrived within one mile and a 
half of the enemy's fortifications (a reconnaissance of his 
position having been made by Major Clark), leaving the 
main road, which passed within the range of his batteries, 
he suddenly deflected to the right, crossed the rocky Ar- 
roya, expeditiously gained the plateau beyond, successfully 
deployed his men into line upon the highland, causing 
the enemy to change its first position, and made the assault 
from the west. This was the best point of attack that 
could possibly have been selected. The event of the day 
proves how well it was chosen. 

In passing the Arroya the caravan and baggage trains 
followed close upon the rear of the army. Nothing could 


exceed in point of solemnity and grandeur the rumbling of 
the artillery, the firm moving of the caravan, the dashing to 
and fro of horsemen, and the waving of banners and gay 
fluttering of guidons, as both armies advanced to the attack 
on the rocky plain; for at this crisis General Conde, with a 
select body of 1,200 cavalry, rushed down from the fortified 
heights to commence the engagement. When within 950 
yards of our alignment, Major Clark's battery of six-pound- 
ers and Weightman's section of howitzers opened upon 
them a well-directed and most destructive fire, producing 
fearful execution in their ranks. In some disorder they fell 
back a short distance, unmasking a battery of cannon, 
which immediately commenced its fire upon us. A brisk 
cannonading was now kept up on both sides for the space 
of fifty minutes, during which time the enemy suffered 
great loss, our battery discharging twenty-four rounds to 
the minute. The balls from the enemy's cannon whistled 
through our ranks in quick succession. Many horses and 
other animals were killed and the wagons much shattered. 
Sergeant A. Hughes of the Missouri Dragoons had both his 
legs broken by a cannon ball. In this action the enemy, 
who were drawn up in columns four deep, close order, lost 
about twenty-five killed, besides a great number of horses- 
The Americans, who stood dismounted in two ranks, open 
order, suffered but slight injury. 

General Conde, with considerable disorder, now fell back 
and rallied his men behind the intrenchments and redoubts. 
Colonel Doniphan immediately ordered the buglers to sound 
the advance. Thereupon the American army moved for- 
ward in the following manner, to storm the enemy's breast- 

The artillery battalion, Major Clark in the center, firing 
occasionally on the advance ; the First Battalion, commanded 
by Lieutenant-Colonels Jackson and Mitchell, composing 

doniphan's expedition. 93 

the right wing; the two select companies of cavalry under 
Captains Reid and Parsons, and Captain Hudson's mounted 
company, immediately on the left of the artillery; and the 
Second Battalion on the extreme left, commanded by Major 
Gilpin. The caravan and baggage trains, under command 
of Major Owens, followed close in the rear. Colonel Don- 
iphan and his aids, Captain Thompson, United States Army, 
Adjutant De Courcy, and Sergeant-Major Crenshaw acted 
between the battalions. 

At this crisis a body of 300 lancers and lazadors were 
discovered advancing upon our rear. These were ex- 
clusive of Heredia's main force, and were said to be 
criminals turned loose from the Chihuahua prisons, that 
by some gallant exploit they might expurgate themselves 
of crime. To this end they were posted in the rear to cut 
off stragglers, prevent retreat, and capture and plunder the 
merchants' wagons. The battalion of teamsters kept these 
at bay. Besides this force there were a thousand specta- 
tors — women, citizens, and rancheros — perched on the 
summits of adjacent hills and mountains, watching the 
event of the day. 

As we neared the enemy's redoubt?, still inclining to the 
right, a heavy fire was opened upon us from his different 
batteries, consisting in all of sixteen pieces of cannon. But 
owing to the facility with which our movements were per- 
formed, and to the fact that the Mexicans were compelled 
to fire plungingly upon our lines (their position being con- 
siderably elevated above the plateau, and particularly the 
battery placed on the brow of the Sacramento Mountain 
with the design of enfilading our column), we sustained 
but little damage. 

When our column had approached within about 400 
yards of the enemy's line of field-works, the three calvary 
companies, under Captains Reid, Parsons, and Hudson, and 


Weightman's section of howitzers, were ordered to carry 
the main center battery, which had considerably annoyed 
our lines, and which was protected by a strong bastion. 
The charge was not made simultaneously, as intended by 
the colonel; for this troop having spurred forward a 
little way, was halted for a moment under a heavy cross- 
fire from the enemy, by the adjutant's misapprehending 
the order. However, Captain Reid, either not hearing or 
disregarding the adjutant's order to halt, leading the way, 
waved his sword, and rising in his stirrups exclaimed: 
"Will my men follow me?" Hereupon Lieutenants Bar- 
nett, Hinton, and Moss, with about twenty-five men, bravely 
sprang forward, rose the hill with the captain, carried the 
battery, and for a moment silenced the guns, but were too 
weak to hold possession of it. By the overwhelming force 
of the enemy, we were beaten back, and many of us 
wounded. Here Maj. Samuel C. Owens, who had volun- 
tarily charged upon the redoubt, received a cannon or mus- 
ket shot, which instantly killed both him and his horse. 
Captain Reid's horse was shot under him, and a gallant 
young man of the same name immediately dismounted and 
generously offered the captain his. 

By this time the remainder of Captain Reid's company, 
under Lieutenant Hocklin, and the section of howitzers 
under Captain Weightman and Lieutenants Choteau and 
Evans, rose the hill, and supported Captain Reid. A 
deadly volley of grape and canister shot, mingled with 
yager balls, quickly cleared the intrenchments and redoubt. 
The battery was retaken and held. Almost at the same 
instant Captains Parsons and Hudson, with the two remain- 
ing companies of cavalry, crossed the intrenchments to 
Reid's left and successfully engaged with the enemy. 
They resolutely drove him back and held the ground. 

All the companies were now pressing forward, and pour- 

doniphan's expedition. 05 

ing over the intrenchments and into the redoubts, eagerly 
vying with each other in the noble struggle for victory. 
Each company, as well as each soldier, was ambitious to 
excel. Companies A, B, C, and a part of Company D, com- 
posing the right wing, all dismounted, respectively under 
command of Captains Waldo, Walton, Moss, and Lieuten- 
ant Miller, led on by Lieutenant-Colonels Jackson and 
Mitchell, stormed a formidable line of redoubts on the 
enemy's left, defended by several pieces of cannon and a 
great number of well-armed and resolute men. A part of 
this wing took possession of the strong battery on Sacra- 
mento Hill, which had kept a continued cross-firing upon 
our right during the whole engagement. Colonels Jackson 
and Mitchell and their captains, lieutenants, non-commis- 
sioned officers, and the men generally, behaved with com- 
mendable gallantry. Many instances of individual prowess 
were exhibited. But it is invidious to distinguish between 
men, where all performed their duty so nobly. 

Meanwhile the left wing, also dismounted, commanded 
by Major Gilpin, a gallant and skillful officer, boldly 
scaled the heights, passed the intrenchments, cleared the 
redoubts, and, with considerable slaughter, forced the 
enemy to retreat from its position on the right. Company 
G, under Captain Hughes, and a part of Company F, under 
Lieutenant Gordon, stormed the battery of three brass 
four-pounders strongly defended by embankments and 
ditches filled by resolute and well-armed Mexican infantry. 
Some of the artillerists were made prisoners while endeav- 
oring to touch off the cannon. Companies H and E, under 
Captains Rodgers and Stephenson, and a part of Hudson's 
company, under Lieutenant Todd, on the extreme left, 
behaved nobly, and fought with great courage. They beat 
the Mexicans from their strong places, and chased them 


like bloodhounds. Major Gilpin was not behind his men 
in bravery — he encouraged them to fight by example. 

Major Clark, with his six-pounders, and Captain Weight- 
man, with his howitzers, during the whole action rendered 
the most signal and essential service, and contributed much 
toward the success of the day. The gallant charge led by 
Captain Reid, and sustained by Captain Weightman, in 
point of daring and brilliancy of execution, has not been 
excelled by any similar exploit during the war. 

General Heredia made several unsuccessful attempts to 
rally his retreating forces, to infuse into their minds new 
courage, and to close up the breaches already made in his 
lines. General Conde, with his troop of horse, also vainly 
endeavored to check the advance of the Missourians. 
They were dislodged from their strong places, and forced 
from the hill in confusion. 

The rout of the Mexican army now became general, 
and the slaughter continued until night put an end to the 
chase. The battle lasted three hours and a half. The 
men returned to the battle-field after dark, completely 
worn out and exhausted with fatigue. The Mexicans lost 
304 men killed on the field, and a large number wounded, 
perhaps not less than five hundred, and seventy prisoners, 
among whom was Brigadier-General Cuilta, together with 
a vast quantity of provisions, $6,000 in specie, 50,000 head 
of sheep, 1,500 head of cattle, 100 mules, twenty wagons, 
twenty-five or thirty caretas, 25,000 pounds of ammunition, 
ten pieces of cannon of different caliber, varying from four 
to nine pounders; six culverins, or wall pieces; 100 stand 
of small colors, seven fine carriages, the general's escritoire, 
and many other things of less note. Our loss was Major 
Samuel C. Owens, killed, and eleven wounded, three of 
whom have subsequently died. 

Thus was the army of Central Mexico totally defeated, 

doniphan's expedition. 07 

and completely disorganized, by a column of Missouri vol- 
unteers. The Mexicans retreated precipitately to Durango, 
and dispersed among the ranchos and villages. Their 
leaders were never able to rally them. 

In this engagement Colonel Doniphan was personally 
much exposed, and by reason of his stature was a conspic- 
uous mark for the fire of the enemy's guns. He was all 
the while at the proper place, whether to dispense his 
orders, encourage his men, or use his saber in thinning the 
enemy's ranks. His courage and gallant conduct were 
only equaled by his clear foresight and great judgment. 
His effective force actually engaged was about nine hun- 
dred and fifty men, including a considerable number of 
amateur fighters, among whom James L. Collins, James 
Kirker, Messrs. Henderson and Anderson, interpreters, 
Major Campbell, and James Stewart, deserve to be favor- 
ably mentioned. They fought bravely. It was impossible 
for Captains Skillman and Glasgow to bring their compa- 
nies of teamsters into the action. They deserve great 
honor for their gallantry in defending the trains. The sol- 
diers encamped on the battle-field, within the enemy's 
entrenchments, and feasted sumptuously upon his viands, 
wines, and pound-cake. 

1 here they rested. 

Colonel Doniphan, not like Hannibal loitering on the 
plains of Italy after the battle of Cannae when he might 
have entered Rome in triumph, immediately followed up 
his success and improved the advantage which his victory 
gave him. Early the next morning (March ist) he dis- 
patched Lieutenant-Colonel Mitchell, with 150 men under 
command of Captains Reid and Weightman, and a section 
of artillery, to take formal possession of the capital, and 
occupy it in the name of his Government. This detach- 
ment, before arriving in the city, was met by several Ameri- 


can gentle me 11 escaping from confinement, who represented 
that the Mexicans had left the place undefended, and fled 
with the utmost precipitation to Durango. The Spanish 
consul, also, came out with the flag of his country to salute 
and acknowledge the conqueror. This small body of 
troops entered and took military possession of Chihuahua 
without the slightest resistance, and the following night 
occupied the Cuartel, near Hidalgo's monument, which 
stands on the Alameda. 

Meanwhile Colonel Doniphan and his men collected the 
booty, tended the captured animals, refitted the trains, 
remounted those who had lost their steeds in the action, 
arranged the preliminaries of the procession, and having 
marched a few miles encamped for the night. On the 
morning of March 2d Colonel Doniphan, with all his mili- 
tary trains, the merchant caravan, gay fluttering colors, and 
the whole spolia opima, triumphantly entered the city to the 
tunes of "Yankee Doodle" and "Hail Columbia," and fired 
in the public square a national salute of twenty-eight guns. 
This was a proud moment for the American troops. The 
battle of Sacramento gave them the capital, and now the 
stars and stripes and serpent eagle of the model republic 
were streaming victoriously over the stronghold of Central 



It is thirteen years since Edward Creighton, the pioneer 
of frontier telegraphy, died, and that he is so well and hon- 
orably remembered in the Omaha of to-day — aye, his mem- 
ory respected by the thousands who have gone there since 
he was no more — but illustrates how great was his service 
to the community, how broad and enduring a mark he made 
upon his time. No man did so much to sustain Omaha in 
its early and trying clays as Edward Creighton. His career 
was a notable one in its humble beginning and splendid 
triumph in the flush of manhood. He was born in Belmont 
County, Ohio, August 31, 1820, of Irish parentage. His 
early days were passed upon a farm, but at the age of 
twenty he took the contract for building part of the 
national stage road from Wheeling, W. Va., to Springfield, 
Ohio. He continued in the contracting business, but it 
was not until 1847 that he entered upon that branch of it 
in which he achieved his greatest success and laid the foun- 
dation of his after fortunes. In that year he received the 
contract for and constructed a telegraph line between 
Springfield and Cincinnati. To this business he devoted 
his time and energies for five years, being successfully 
engaged in the construction of telegraph lines in all parts 
of the country, completing the line from Cleveland to Chi- 
cago in 1S52. In 1856, while engaged in telegraph con- 
struction in Missouri, Mr. Creighton visited Omaha, and 
his brothers, John A., James, and Joseph, and his cousin 
James, locating there, he returned to Ohio, where he wedded 



Mary Lucretia Wareham of Dayton, and in 1857 he also 
went to Omaha and located. He continued in the tele- 
graph construction business, completing, in i860, the first 
line which gave Omaha connection with the outer world 
via St. Louis. 

For years Mr. Creighton entertained a pet project — the 
building of a line to the Pacific Coast — and in the winter 
of i860, after many conferences with the wealthy stock- 
holders of the Western Union Company, a preliminary sur- 
vey was agreed upon. In those days the stage-coach was 
the only means of overland travel, and that was beset with 
great danger from Indians and road agents. In the stage- 
coach Mr. Creighton made his way to Salt Lake City, 
where he enlisted the interest and support of Brigham 
Young, the great head of the Mormon church, in his proj- 
ect. It had been arranged to associate the California 
State Telegraph Company in the enterprise, and on to Sac- 
ramento, in midwinter, Mr. Creighton pressed on horse- 
back. It was a terrible journey, but the man who made it 
was of stout heart, and he braved the rigors of the mount- 
ains and accomplished his mission, and in the spring of 
1861 he returned to Omaha to begin his great work. Con- 
gress, meanwhile, had granted a subsidy of $40,000 a year 
for ten years to the company which should build the line. 
Then a great race was inaugurated, for heavy wagers, 
between Mr. Creighton's construction force and the Cali- 
fornia contractors who were building eastward, to see 
which should reach Salt Lake City first. Mr. Creighton 
had 1,100 miles to construct and the Californians only 450, 
but he reached Salt Lake City on the 17th of October, one 
week ahead of his competitors. 

On October 24th, but little more than six months after 
the enterprise was begun, Mr. Creighton had established 
telegraphic communication from ocean to ocean. He had 


taken $100,000 worth of the stock of the new enterprise at 
about eighteen cents on the dollar, and when the project 
was completed the company trebled its stock, Mr. Creigh- 
ton's $100,000 becoming $300,000. The stock rose to 85 
cents, and he sold out $100,000 worth for $850,000, still 
retaining $200,000 of the stock. He continued in the 
telegraphic construction business until 1867, when his great 
cattle interests, in which he had embarked in 1864, and his 
great plains freighting business, established before the 
building of the Union Pacific and continued even after 
its completion, to the mining regions of Montana and 
Idaho, exacted his attention. During all these years of 
great business success, Mr. Creighton was firm in his allegi- 
ance to Omaha. He was the first president of the first 
national bank in the city, and was ever ready to aid, by his 
means, and counsel, and enterprise, the furthering of 
Omaha's interests. He commanded the confidence of all 
the people, his sterling integrity and unwavering fidelity 
combining with his generous and charitable nature to make 
him a very lovable man. No man has an unkind word to 
say of Edward Creighton, and his memory is revered to 
this day as an upright, just, and kind man, who, out of his 
own sterling qualities, had wrought a successful and hon- 
orable career. He was stricken with paralysis and died 
November 5, 1874. To his memory Creighton College was 
erected and endowed by his widow, in response to his own 
wish, expressed during his lifetime, to found a free institu- 
tion for the non-sectarian education of youth — the insti- 
tution to be under Catholic control 



The organization of a full-fledged train for crossing the 
plains consisted of from twenty-five to twenty-six large 
wagons that would carry from three to three and a half 
tons each, the merchandise or contents of each wagon being 
protected by three sheets of thin ducking, such as is used 
for army tents. The number of cattle necessary to draw 
each wagon was twelve, making six yokes or pairs, and a 
prudent freighter would always have from twenty to thirty 
head of extra oxen, in case of accident to or lameness of 
some of the animals. In camping or stopping to allow the 
cattle to graze, a corral or pen of oblong shape is formed 
by the wagons, the tongues being turned out, and a log 
chain extended from the hind wheel of each wagon to the 
fore wheel of the next behind, etc., thus making a solid 
pen except for a wide gap at each end, through which gaps 
the cattle are driven when they are to be yoked and made 
ready for travel, the gaps then being filled by the wagon- 
master, his assistant, and the extra men, to prevent the 
cattle from getting out. When the cattle are driven into 
this corral or pen, each driver yokes his oxen, drives them 
out to his wagon, and gets ready to start. The entire train 
of cattle, including extras, generally numbered from 320 to 
330 head and usually from four to five mules for riding and 
herding. The force of men for each train consisted of a 
wagonmaster, his assistant, the teamsters, a man to look 
after the extra cattle, and two or three extra men as a 
reserve to take the places of any men who might be dis- 

( 108 ) 


abled or sick, the latter case being a rare exception, for as 
a rule there was no sickness. I think perhaps there was 
never a set of laboring men in the world who enjoyed more 
uninterrupted good. health than the teamsters upon the 
plains. They walked by the side of their teams, as it was 
impossible for them to ride and keep them moving with 
regularity. The average distance traveled with loaded 
wagons was from twelve to fifteen miles per day, although 
in some instances, when roads were fine and there was a 
necessity for rapid movement, I have known them to travel 
twenty miles. But this was faster traveling than they could 
keep up for any length of time. Returning with empty 
wagons they could average twenty miles a day without 
injury to the animals. 

Oxen proved to be the cheapest and most reliable teams 
for long trips, where they had to live upon the grass. This 
was invariably the case. They did good daily work, 
gathered their own living, and if properly driven would 
travel 2,000 miles in a season, or during the months from 
April to November; traveling from 1,000 to 1,200 miles 
with the loaded wagons, and with plenty of good grass and 
water, would make the return trip with the empty wagons 
in the same season. However, the distance traveled 
depended much upon the skill of the wagonmasters who 
had them in charge. For if the master was not skilled in 
handling the animals and men, they could not make any- 
thing like good headway and success. To make every- 
thing work expeditiously, thorough discipline was required, 
each man performing his duty and being in the place 
assigned him without confusion or delay. I remember 
once of timing my teamsters when they commenced to 
yoke their teams after the cattle had been driven into their 
corral and allowed to stand long enough to become quiet. 
I gave the word to the men to commence yoking, and held 


my watch in my hand while they did so, and in sixteen 
minutes from the time they commenced, each man had 
yoked six pairs of oxen and had them hitched to their 
wagons ready to move. I state this that the reader may 
see how quickly the men who are thoroughly disciplined 
could be ready to " pop the whip " and move out, when 
unskilled men were often more than an hour doing the same 
work. The discipline and rules by which my trains were 
governed were perfect, and as quick as the men learned 
each one his place and duty, it became a very pleasant and 
easy thing for him to do. Good moral conduct was 
required of them, and no offense from man to man was 
allowed, thus keeping them good-natured and working 
together harmoniously. They were formed into what they 
called "messes," there being from six to eight men in a 
mess, each mess selecting the man best fitted to serve as 
cook, and the others carrying the water, fuel, and standing 
guard, so that the cook's sole business when in camp was 
to get his utensils ready and cook the meals. 

We never left the cattle day or night without a guard of 
two men, the teamsters taking turns, and arranging it so 
that each man was on guard two hours out of the twenty- 
four, and sometimes they were only obliged to go on guard 
two hours every other night. This matter they arranged 
among themselves and with the wagonmaster. The duty 
of the wagonmaster was about the same as that of a cap- 
tain of a steamboat or ship, his commands being implicitly 
obeyed, for in the early stages of travel upon the plains 
the men were at all times liable to be attacked by the 
Indians; therefore the necessity for- a perfect harmony 
of action throughout the entire band. The assistant 
wagonmaster's duty was to carry out the wagonmaster's 
instructions, and he would often be at one end of the 
train while the master was at the other, as the train was 


moving. It was arranged, when possible, that no two 
trains should ever camp together, as there was not grass 
and water sufficient for the animals of both, and thus all 
confusion was avoided. 

The average salary paid the men was $i a day and ex- 
penses. Most of the traveling in the early days of freight- 
ing was done upon what was called the Santa Fe road, 
starting from Independence, Mo., and unloading at Santa 
¥6, N. M. The rattlesnakes on that road, in the beginning 
of the travel, were a great annoyance, often biting the 
mules and oxen when they were grazing. At first, mules 
were used altogether for traveling, but they would either 
die or become useless from the bite of a rattlesnake, and 
the men would sometimes be sent ahead of the caravan 
with whips to frighten the snakes out of the pathway, but 
later on, the ox-teamsters, with their large whips, de- 
stroyed them so fast that they ceased to trouble them to any 
great extent. It has been claimed by men that the snakes 
and prairie-dogs, who were also found in great numbers 
upon the plains, lived in the same houses, the dog digging 
the hole and allowing the snake to inhabit it with him; but 
I do not think this is correct. Men came to this conclu- 
sion from seeing the snakes when frightened run into 
the dog-holes, but I think they did it to get out of the way 
of danger, and they lived, too, in the houses that had been 
abandoned by the dogs. It is a fact that the prairie dogs 
would only live in one hole for about a year, when they 
would abandon it and dig a new one, leaving the old ones 
to be taken possession of by the rattlesnakes and prairie 
owls. As far as I have been able to find out, there is no 
creature on earth that will live with a rattlesnake. They 
are hated and feared by all living animals. 

The following are the names of the men who were em- 
ployed on our trains, in one capacity and another, and a 
number of them are still alive: 



Dr. J. Hobbs, 
Jim Lobb, 
Alex Lobb, 
Aquila Lobb, 
Joel Dunn, 
Mitchell Wilson, 
Hank Bassett, 
George W. Marion 
N. H. Fitzwater, 
George Bryant, 
Tom A. Brawley, 
Peter Bean, 
James L. Davis, 
William Hickman, 
A. W. Street, 
Joel Hedgespeth, 
Charles Byers, 
Nathan Simpson, 
R. D. Simpson, 
Ben Tunley, 
Hiram Cummings, 
John Ewing, 
Rev. Ben Baxter, 
A. and P. Byram, 
Frank McKinney, 
John T. Renick, 
John D. Clayton, 
William Wier, 
Frank Hoberg, 
Gillis of Pennsylvania, 
David Street, 
Joel Lyal, 
Albert Bangs, 
Elijah Majors, 

Aquila Davis, 
Samuel Poteete, 
William Hayes, 
George A. Baker, 
James Brown, 
William Dodd, 
Mr. Badger, 
Green Davis, 
John Scudder, 
Jackson Cooper, 
Samuel Foster, 
Robert Foster, 
Chat. Renick, 
John Renick, 
Mr. Levisy, 
Dick Lipscomb, 
James Aiken, 
Johnson Aiken, 
Stephen De Wolfe, 
Linville Hayes, 
Sam McKinny, 
Ben Rice, 
Ferd Smith, 
Henry Carlisle, 
Alexander Carlisle, 
Robert Ford, 
Joseph Erwin, 
Daniel D. White, 
Johnny Fry, 
Alexander Benham, 
Luke Benham, 
Benjamin Ficklin, 
John Kerr. 



Kit Carson, as he was familiarly known and called, was 
born in Madison County, Ky., on the 24th of December, 

During the early days of Carson's childhood his father 
moved from Kentucky to Missouri, which State was then 
called Upper Louisiana, where Kit Carson passed a number 
of years, early becoming accustomed to the stirring dangers 
with which his whole life was so familiar. 

At the age of fifteen years he was apprenticed to a Mr. 
Workman, a saddler. At the end of two years, when his 
apprenticeship was ended, young Carson voluntarily aban- 
doned the further pursuit of a trade which had no attrac- 
tions for him, and from that time on pursued the life of a 
trapper, hunter, and Indian fighter, distinguishing himself 
in many ways and rendering invaluable service to the Gov- 
ernment of the United States, in whose employ he spent a 
large part of his life, in which service he had risen to the 
rank of colonel and was breveted brigadier-general before 
his death, which occurred at Fort Lyon, Colo., on the 
23d of May, 1868, from the effects of the rupture of an 
artery, or probably an aneurism of an artery in the neck. 

Carson as a trapper, hunter, and guide had no superior, 
and as a soldier was the peer of any man. 

The following from the life of Kit Carson will be found 
most interesting reading regarding this great scout: 

" With fresh animals and men well fed and rested, McCoy 
and Carson and all their party soon started from Fort Hall 



for the rendezvous again, upon Green River, where they were 
detained some weeks for the arrival of other parties, enjoy- 
ing as they best might the occasion, and preparing for 
future operations. 

" A party of a hundred was here organized, with Mr. 
Fontenelle and Carson for their leaders, to trap upon the 
Yellowstone and the headwaters of the Missouri. It was 
known that they would probably meet the Blackfeet, in 
whose grounds they were going, and it was therefore 
arranged, that while fifty were to trap and furnish the food 
for the party, the remainder should be assigned to guard 
the camp and cook. There was no disinclination on the 
part of any to another meeting with the Blackfeet, so often 
had they troubled them, especially Carson, who, while he 
could be magnanimous toward an enemy, would not turn 
aside from his course if able to cope with him; and now 
that he was in a company which justly felt itself strong 
enough to punish the ' thieving Blackfeet,' as they spoke 
of them, he was anxious to pay off some old scores. 

" They saw nothing, however, of these Indians; but after- 
ward learned that the smallpox had raged terribly among 
them, and that they had kept themselves retired in mount- 
ain valleys, oppressed with fear and severe disease. 

"The winter's encampment was made in this region, and 
a party of Crow Indians which was with them camped at a 
little distance on the same stream. Here they secured an 
abundance of meat, and passed the severe weather with a 
variety of amusements, in which the Indians joined them in 
their lodges, made of buffalo hides. These lodges, very 
good substitutes for houses, were made in the form of a 
cone, spread by means of poles spreading from a common 
center, where there was a hole at the top for the passage 
of smoke. These were often twenty feet in height and as 
many feet in diameter, where they were pinned to the 


ground with stakes. In a large village the Indians often 
had one lodge large enough to hold fifty persons, and 
within were performed their war dances around a fire made 
in the center. During the palmy days of the British Fur 
Company, in a lodge like this, only made instead of birch 
bark, Irving says the Indians of the North held their ' prim- 
itive fairs ' outside the city of Montreal, where they dis- 
posed of their furs. 

"There was one drawback upon conviviality for this 
party, in the extreme difficulty of getting food for their 
animals; for the food and fuel so abundant for themselves 
did not suffice for their horses. Snow covered the ground, 
and the trappers were obliged to gather willow twigs, and 
strip the bark from Cottonwood trees, in order to keep 
them alive. The inner bark of the Cottonwood is eaten by 
the Indians when reduced to extreme want. Besides, the 
cold brought the buffalo down upon them in great herds, to 
share the nourishment they had provided for their horses. 

'.' Spring at length opened, and gladly they again com- 
menced trapping; first on the Yellowstone and soon on the 
headwaters of the Missouri, where they learned that the 
Blackfeet were recovered from the sickness of last year, 
which had not been so severe as it was reported, and that 
they were still anxious and in condition for a fight, and 
were encamped not far from their present trapping 

" Carson and five men went forward in advance ' to recon- 
noiter,' and found the village preparing to remove, having 
learned of the presence of the trappers. Hurrying back, 
a party of forty-three was selected from the whole, and 
they unanimously selected Carson to lead them, and leav- 
ing the rest to move on with the baggage, and aid them if 
it should be necessary when they should come up with the 
Indians, they started forward eager for a battle. 


"Carson and his command were not long in overtaking 

the Indians; and dashing among them, at the first fire 
killed ten of their braves; but the Indians rallied and 
retreated in good order. The white men were in good 
spirits, and followed up their first attack with deadly results 
for three full hours, the Indians making scarce any resist- 
ance. Now their firing became less animated, as their 
ammunition was getting low, and they had to use it with 
extreme caution. The Indians, suspecting this from the 
slackness of their fire, rallied, and with a tremendous whoop 
turned upon their enemies. 

" Now Carson and his company could use their small 
arms, which produced a terrible effect, and which enabled 
them to again drive back the Indians. They rallied yet 
again, and charged with so much power and in such 
numbers, they forced the trappers to retreat. 

"During this engagement the horse of one of the mount- 
aineers was killed, and fell with his whole weight upon his 
rider. Carson saw the condition of the man, with six 
warriors rushing to take his scalp, and reached the spot in 
time to save his friend. Leaping from the saddle he placed 
himself before his fallen companion, shouting at the same 
time for his men to rally around him, and with deadly aim 
from his rifle, shot down the foremost warrior. 

"The trappers now rallied around Carson and the remain- 
ing five warriors retired, without the scalp of their fallen 
foe. Only two of them reached a place of safety, for the 
well-aimed fire of the trappers leveled them with the earth. 

" Carson's horse was loose, and as his comrade was safe, 
he mounted behind one of his men and rode back to the 
ranks, while by general impulse the firing on both sides 
ceased. His horse was captured and restored to him, but 
each party, now thoroughly exhausted, seemed to wait for 
the other to renew the attack. 


" While resting in this attitude, the other division of the 
trappers came in sight, but the Indians, showing no fear, 
posted themselves among the rocks at some distance from 
the scene of the last skirmish, and coolly waited for their 
adversaries. Exhausted ammunition had been the cause of 
the retreat of Carson and his force, but now, with a renewed 
supply, and an addition of fresh men to the force, they 
advanced on foot to drive the Indians from their hiding 
places. The contest was desperate and severe, but powder 
and ball eventually conquered, and the Indians, once dis- 
lodged, scattered in every direction. The trappers consid- 
ered this a complete victory over the Blackfeet, for a large 
number of their warriors were killed, and many more were 
wounded, while they had but three men killed and a few 
severely wounded. 

" Fontenelle and his party now camped at the scene of 
the engagement, to recruit their men and here bury their 
dead. Afterward they trapped through the whole Black- 
feet country, and with great success, going where they 
pleased without fear or molestation. The Indians kept off 
their route, evidently having acquaintance with Carson and 
his company enough to last them their lifetime. 

" With the smallpox and the white man's rifles the war- 
riors were much reduced, and the tribe, which had formerly 
numbered 30,000, was already decimated, and a few more 
blows like the one dealt by this dauntless band would suffice 
to break its spirit and destroy its power for future and evil. 

" During the battle with the trappers the women and 
children of the Blackfeet village were sent on in advance, 
and when the engagement was over and the braves returned 
to them so much reduced in numbers, and without a single 
scalp, the big lodge that had been erected for the war dance 
was given up for the wounded, and in hundreds of Indian 
hearts grew a bitter hatred for the white man. 


" Am express, dispatched for the purpose, announced the 
place of the rendezvous to Fontenelle and Carson, who 
were now on Green River, and with their whole party and 
a large stock of furs, they at once set out for the place upon 
Mud River, to find the sales commenced before their arrival, 
so that in twenty days they were ready to break up camp. 

" Carson now organized a party of seven and proceeded 
to a trading post called Brown's Hole, where he joined a 
company of traders to go to the Navajo Indians. He 
found this tribe more assimilated to the white man than 
any Indians he had yet seen, having many fine horses 
and large flocks of sheep and cattle. They also possessed 
the art of weaving, and their blankets were in great demand 
through Mexico, bringing high prices on account of their 
great beauty, being woven in flowers with much taste. 
They were evidently a remnant of the Aztec race. 

" They traded here for a large drove of fine mules, which, 
taken to the fort on the South Platte, realized good prices, 
when Carson went again to Brown's Hole, a narrow but 
pretty valley, about sixteen miles long, upon the Colorado 

" After many offers for his services from other parties, 
Carson at length engaged himself for the winter to hunt 
for the men at this fort, and, as the game was abundant in 
this beautiful valley, and in the canon country farther 
down the Colorado, in its deer, elk, and antelope remind- 
ing him of his hunts upon the Sacramento, the task was a 
delightful one to him. 

" In the spring Carson trapped with Bridger and Owens, 
with passable success, and went to the rendezvous upon 
"Wind River, at the head of the Yellowstone, and from 
thence, with a large party of the trappers at the rendezvous, 
to the Yellowstone, where they camped in the vicinity for 
the winter without seeing their old enemy, the Blackfeet 


Indians, until midwinter, when they discovered they were 
near their stronghold. 

"A party of forty was selected to give them battle, with 
Carson, of course, for their captain. They found the 
Indians already in the field to the number of several hun- 
dred, who made a brave resistance until night and darkness 
admonished both parties to retire. In the morning, when 
Carson and his men went to the spot whither the Indians 
had retired, they were not to be found. They had given 
them a 'wide berth,' taking their all away with them, even 
their dead. 

" Carson and his command returned to camp, where a 
council of war decided that, as the Indians would report at 
the principal encampment the terrible loss they had sus- 
tained, and others would be sent to renew the fight, it was 
wise to prepare to act on the defensive, and use every pre- 
caution immediately; and accordingly a sentinel was sta- 
tioned on a lofty hill near by, who soon reported that the 
Indians were upon the move. 

" Their plans matured, they at once threw up a breast- 
work, under Carson's directions, and waited the approach 
of the Indians, who came in slowly, the first parties waiting 
for those behind. After three days a full thousand had 
reached the camp about half a mile from the breastwork of 
the trappers. In their war paint, stripes of red across the 
forehead and down either cheek, with their bows and 
arrows, tomahawks and lances, this army of Indians pre- 
sented a formidable appearance to the small body of trap- 
pers who were opposed to them. 

"The war dance was enacted in sight and hearing of the 
trappers, and at early dawn the Indians advanced, having 
made every preparation for the attack. Carson commanded 
his men to reserve their fire till the Indians were near 
enough to have every shot tell; but, seeing the strength of 



the white men's position, after a few ineffectual shots, the 
Indians retired, camped a mile from them, and finally sep- 
arated into two parties, and went away, leaving the trappers 
to breathe more freely, for, at the best, the encounter must 
have been of a desperate character. 

"They evidently recognized the leader who had before 
dealt so severely with them, in the skill with which the de- 
fense was arranged, and if the name of Kit Carson was on 
their lips, they knew him for both bravery and magnanimity, 
and had not the courage to offer him battle. 

"Another winter gone, with saddlery, moccasin-making, 
lodge-building, to complete the repairs of the summer's 
wars and the winter's fight all completed, Carson, with 
fifteen men, went past Fort Hall again to the Salmon River, 
and trapped part of the season there, and upon Big Snake 
and Goose creeks, and selling his furs at Fort Hall, again 
joined Bridger in another trapping excursion into the Black- 
feet country. 

" The Blackfeet had molested the traps of another party 
who had arrived there before them, and had driven them 
away. The Indian assailants were still near, and Carson 
led his party against them, taking care to station himself 
and men in the edge of a thicket, where they kept the 
savages at bay all day, taking a man from their number 
with nearly every shot of their well-directed rifles. In vain 
the Indians now attempted to fire the thicket; it would not 
burn, and suddenly they retired, forced again to acknowl- 
edge defeat at the hands of Kit Carson, the ' Monarch of 
the Prairies.' 

"Carson's party now joined with the others, but con- 
cluding that they could not trap successfully with the 
annoyance the. Indians were likely to give them, as their 
force was too small to hope to conquer, they left this part 
of the country for the north fork of the Missouri. 


" Now they were with the friendly Flatheads, one of 
whose chiefs joined them in the hunt, and went into camp 
near them with a party of his braves. This tribe of 
Indians, like several other tribes which extend along this 
latitude of the Pacific, have the custom which gives them 
their name, thus described by Irving, in speaking of the 
Indians upon the Lower Columbia, about its mouth: 

"'A most singular custom,' he says, 'prevails not only 
among the Chinooks, but among most of the tribes about 
this part of the coast, which is the flattening of the fore- 
head. The process by which this deformity is effected 
commences immediately after birth. The infant is laid in 
a wooden trough by way of cradle; the end on which the 
head reposes is higher than the rest. A padding is placed 
on the forehead of the infant, with a piece of bark above it, 
and is pressed down by cords which pass through holes 
upon the sides of the trough. As the tightening of the 
padding and the pressure of the head to the board is 
gradual, the process is said not to be attended with pain. 
The appearance of the infant, however, while in this state 
of compression, is whimsically hideous, and its little black 
eyes, we are told, being forced out by the tightness of the 
bandages, resemble those of a mouse choked in a trap. 

" ' About a year's pressure is sufficient to produce the 
desired effect, at the end of which time the child emerges 
from its bandages a complete flathead, and continues so 
through life. It must be noted, however, that this flatten- 
ing of the head has something in it of aristocratic signifi- 
cance, like the crippling of the feet among the Chinese 
ladies of quality. At any rate it is the sign of freedom. 
No slave is permitted to bestow this deformity upon the 
head of his children. All the slaves, therefore, are round- 
heads.' " 

In December, 1846, after a severe battle with the Mexi- 



cans and the condition of General Kearney and his men 
had become desperate, a council of war was called. After 
discussing a variety of measures, Carson showed himself 
" the right man in the right place." He said, " Our case is a 
desperate one, but there is yet hope. If we stay here we are 
all dead men; our animals can not last long, and the sol- 
diers and marines at San Diego do not know of our coming, 
but if they receive information of our condition, they will 
hasten to our rescue. I will attempt to go through the 
Mexican lines, then to San Diego, and send relief from 
Commodore Stockton." 

Lieutenant Beale of the United States Navy at once 
seconded Carson, and volunteered to accompany him. 
General Kearney immediately accepted the proposal as 
his only hope, and they started at once, as soon as the 
cover of darkness hung around them. Their mission was 
to be one of success or of death to themselves and 
the whole force. Carson was familiar with the customs 
of the Mexicans, as well as the Indians, of putting their ears 
to the ground to detect any sound, and therefore knew the 
necessity of avoiding the slightest noise. As it was impos- 
sible to avoid making some noise wearing their shoes, they 
removed them, and putting them under their belts crept 
over bushes and rocks with the greatest caution and silence. 
They discovered that the Mexicans had three rows of sen- 
tinels, whose beats extended past each other, embracing the 
hill where Kearney and his men were held in siege. They 
were doubtless satisfied these could not be eluded, but 
they crept on, often so near a sentinel as to see his figure 
and equipment in the darkness, and once, when within a 
few yards of them, discovered one of the sentinels, who had 
dismounted and lighted his cigarette with his flint and 
steel. Discovering this sentinel, Kit Carson, as he lay flat 
on the ground, put his foot back and touched Lieutenant 


Beale, as a signal for him to be still, as he was doing. The 
minutes the Mexican was occupied in this way seemed 
hours to our heroes, who momentarily feared they would be 
discovered. Carson asserted they were so still he could 
hear Lieutenant Beale's heart beat, and, in the agony of the 
time, he lived a year. But the Mexican finally mounted 
his horse and rode off in a contrary direction, as if guided 
by Providence to give safety to these courageous advent- 

For full two miles Kit Carson and Lieutenant Beale thus 
worked their way along upon their hands and knees, turn- 
ing their eyes in every direction to detect anything which 
might lead to their discovery; and, having passed the last 
sentinel and left the lines sufficiently far behind, they felt 
an immeasurable relief in once more gaining their feet. But 
their shoes were gone. In the excitement of this perilous 
journey neither had thought of his shoes since he first put 
them in his belt, but they could speak again and congratu- 
late themselves and each other that the great danger was 
passed, and thank heaven that they had been aided thus far. 
But there were still many difficulties in their path, which 
was rough with bushes, from the necessity of having to 
avoid the well-trodden trail, lest they be discovered. The 
prickly pear covered the ground, its thorns penetrated 
their feet at every step, and their road was lengthened by 
going out of the direct path, though the latter would have 
shortened their journey many a weary mile. 

All the day following they pursued their journey onward 
without cessation, and into the night following, for they 
could not stop until they were assured relief was to be fur- 
nished their anxious and perilous conditioned fellow 

Carson pursued so straight a course and aimed so cor- 
rectly for his mark that they entered the town by the 


most direct route, and answering " friends " to the chal- 
lenge of the sentinel, it was known from whence they came, 
and they were at once conducted to Commodore Stockton, 
to whom they related their errand, and the further particu- 
lars we have already narrated. 

Commodore Stockton immediately detailed a force of 
nearly two hundred men, and, with his usual promptness, 
ordered them to go to the relief of their besieged country- 
men by forced marches. They took with them a piece of 
ordnance, which the men were obliged themselves to draw, 
as there were no animals to be had for this work. 

Carson's feet were in a terrible condition, and he did not 
return with the soldiers; he needed rest and the best of 
care or he might lose his feet; but he described the posi- 
tion of.General Kearney so accurately that the party sent to 
his relief could find him without difficulty, and yet had the 
commodore expressed the wish, Carson would have under- 
taken to guide the relief party upon its march. 

Lieutenant Beale was partially deranged for several days 
from the effects of the severe service, and was sent on 
board a frigate lying in port for medical attendance, and 
he did not fully recover his former health for more than 
two years. 

The relief party from Commodore Stockton reached 
General Kearney without encountering any Mexicans, and 
very soon all marched to San Diego, where the wounded 
soldiers received medical assistance. 



Fifty years ago, when Kansas City consisted of a ware- 
house and there was not a single private residence of 
civilized man between the Missouri River and San Fran- 
cisco, S. E. Ward, a trapper, landed from a steamer at 
Independence. He was a penniless youth of eighteen 
years, direct from the parental home in Virginia, filled 
with eager desire to gain a fortune in the far West. Now, 
at sixty-eight years of age, Mr. Ward is almost twice a 
millionaire and one of the most respected citizens of 
Western Missouri. He is one of the pioneers that are left 
to speak of the struggles and triumphs of early Western 
life. The family home is a spacious two-story brick house, 
2$ miles south of Westport, on the old Santa Fe trail. 
The house stands upon a farm of 500 acres at the edge of 
the great prairie which stretches away through Kansas to 
the base of the Rocky Mountains. On this very spot 
where he now lives Mr. Ward camped more than once on 
his return from trading expeditions, years ago, in the 

He has had experiences that do not fall to the 
ordinary lot of man. Thrown by circumstances into a new 
country in his earlier life, he has traveled thousands of 
miles alone through the mountains and across the prairies, 
and often spent weeks without meeting a single human 
being. Exposed to snow, sleet, and rain, with no shelter 
but a buffalo robe, and at times with starvation staring him 
in the face, the chances seemed slight indeed of ever Com- 


ing out alive. During his experience in the West he met 
Fremont in his expedition through the mountains, saw 
Brigham Young on the Platte River as he was on his way 
to found a Mormon empire, passed through the stormy 
period of the Mexican War, the California gold excitement, 
the Civil War, and witnessed the opening of the Pacific 
Railroad, and the mighty influx of population on the 
plains of the great West. 

The first seven years of his life on the frontier were 
passed largely in intercourse with Indian tribes, extending 
from the Red River on the south to the upper waters of 
the Columbia and Yellowstone on the north. Hunting, 
trapping, and trading were the only occupations open to 
white men west of the Missouri River in those days. In 
little bands of from two to twelve the hunters and trappers 
roamed through the vast region with but little fear of the 
redskins. The Indians had not contracted the vices of 
civilization, and were a different race of people from what 
they are to-day. The cruelties we read of as practiced by 
them in later years were unknown. I never knew of a 
prisoner being burned at the stake, and ordinarily the 
hunter felt as safe in an Indian country as in his own 
settlement. The Indians were armed with bows and 
arrows, not more than one in fifty being the possessor of a 
gun. When an Indian did use a gun it was usually a light 
shotgun that proved ineffective at any great distance. An 
experienced frontiersman considered himself safe against 
any small number of Indians. 

By means of the sign language we were able to talk with 
the Indians upon all subjects; and as they were very great 
talkers and inveterate story-tellers, many is the hour I have 
passed seated by the camp-fire hearing their adventures or 
the legends of their nations. I have often wondered why 
the sign language, as recognized and perfected by the 


Indians, was not adopted among civilized people instead of 
the deaf and dumb alphabet. The Indian's method of 
communicating his ideas is much more impressive and 
natural. The Cheyennes and Arapahoes were especially 
noted for their skill in sign language. 

In some respects the Indians were superior to the whites 
as hunters. They knew nothing of trapping beaver until 
taught by the whites, but they could give valuable points 
on bagging the large game on the plains. Forty or fifty 
years ago the plains were swarming with buffalo. I have 
often seen droves so large that no eye could compass them. 
Their numbers were countless. The Indian hunter riding 
bare-backed would guide his horse headlong into the midst 
of the herd, singling out the fattest and in an instant send- 
ing the deadly arrow clean through his victim. In a single 
day's hunt they sometimes killed 3,000 to 4,000 buffalo. 
The dead bodies would lie scattered over the prairie for 
miles. It required the greatest diligence to save the skins 
and dry the meat for use in winter. They made wholesale 
slaughter of antelope by forming a "surround." This 
required the presence of several hundred Indians to make 
a complete success. Early in the morning the men and 
boys would form a circle miles in diameter, riding round 
and round, making the circle smaller at every revolution 
and growing closer together. All the game within the 
ranks was gradually collected into a body which was driven 
to an inclosure formed by weeds piled high up at the sides, 
behind which were the women and old men. As the game 
passed the reserve force these bobbed up and set up 
unearthly shrieks and yells that caused the frightened 
animals to plunge forward over a precipice to which the 
inclosure conducted. The slaughter was terrible. Indians 
stationed below gave the quietus to such game as made the 
descent with but slight injury. At the close of the day a 


great feast was held, and nobody enjoys a feast more than 
an Indian. 

I have been asked if marriage was a success among the 
aborigines. I never heard it hinted that it was otherwise. 
The Indian had the privilege of taking as many wives as 
he was able to support, and if he married the oldest sister 
in a family, all the remaining sisters were considered his 
property as they became of age. Under favorable circum- 
stances, in some tribes, a warrior took a new wife every two 
or three years. A separate lodge was provided for each 
wife, as the women would fall out and scratch each other 
if kept together. A peculiarity in the Indian family rela- 
tions was that as soon as a wife found herself to be with 
child her person was considered sacred, and she lived apart 
from all the rest of the household until the child had been 
born and had weaned itself of its own accord. This exclusion 
extended even to the master of the house, and was never 
violated. The children were fairly idolized among the 
more advanced tribes. The parents seemed to live for 
their children, more particularly when the children were 

An Indian's wealth was known by the number of his 
horses. There were both rich and poor Indians, but the 
latter were never allowed to want when there was anything 
to be had. After a great hunt the poor man was granted 
the privilege of taking the first carcasses nearest the camp. 

Some Indians kept their lodges nicely painted and be- 
yond criticism as to cleanliness. The lodges were renewed 
every year, as frequent moving and exposure to weather 
made the skins leaky. The Indians' range extended any- 
where that game and food for their animals could be 
found. It was a rare occurrence for them to remain a 
month in a single vicinity. The monotony of hunting and 
moving was varied by occasional forays upon an unfriendly 


tribe, stealing their horses, and carrying off scalps and 
prisoners. Unless these captives were children they were 
put to death. The children were usually adopted and 
treated with the greatest kindness. The older prisoners, 
both men and women, were dispatched with little cere- 
mony. The killing was usually deferred for several days 
after the prisoners were brought into camp. A young 
Pawnee Indian who was killed by a party of Comanches 
was taken into the open air, his hands were tied to his legs, 
and he was shot through the heart. He uttered not a 
word or groan. After the killing, a warrior stepped for- 
ward and raised the dead Pawnee's scalp, then the war 
dance was held. A Crow Indian was dispatched even more 
expeditiously. Trapper Ward called on the captain in the 
lodge where he was confined, and they talked together by 
signs. He said he knew he must die, but felt perfectly 
resigned to his fate, as he would inflict the same penalty on 
his enemies if he had the chance. While they were talking, 
a warrior appeared at the door and made a motion. The 
Crow stepped forward and was shot within a few feet of 
the spot he had occupied the moment before. After the 
scalping and war dance he was tied up in a standing posi- 
tion, with his hands stretched as far apart over his head as 
possible, making a ghastly spectacle, and left as a warn- 
ing to all the enemies of his executioners. 

The winter of 1838 and 1839, Mr. Ward says, was viv- 
idly impressed upon his mind, being his first experience as 
a trapper. After a journey of 600 miles from Independ- 
ence, he arrived at Fort Bent, and early in the fall the dif- 
ferent hunting and trapping parties started out for a long 
sojourn in the mountains. He was fortunate in being one 
of a party of twelve, of which Kit Carson was a member. 
They made headquarters in Brown's Hole, on the Colorado 
River, where it enters the mountains. Trapping proved 


hard work, but he never enjoyed life more, and knew no 
such thing as sickness. Their clothes were made (by their 
own hands) of buckskin. Their food was nothing but meat 
cooked on a stick or on the coals, as they had no cooking 
utensils. Antelope, dear, elk, bear, beaver, and, in case of 
necessity, even the wolf, furnished a variety that was 
always acceptable to eat. At night they gathered round a 
roaring fire, in comfortable quarters, to listen to the stories 
which such men as Kit Carson could tell. 

At the close of three months a successful trapper was 
often able to show a pack of 1 20 beaver skins, weighing 
about 100 pounds. As he made two trapping expeditions 
during the year, in the spring and fall, he would show 200 
pounds, worth §6 per pound, as his year's work. In addi- 
tion to this, the musk-stones of the beaver were worth as 
much as the skins, so that some of them made $3,000 per 
year as trappers. It was a poor trapper that did not earn 
half as much. But few of them ever saved any money. The 
traders from the States charged them enormously for sup- 
plies, and Western men were inveterate gamblers. Sugar 
was $1.50 per pound, coffee the same, tobacco $5 per 
pound, and a common shirt could not be bought for less 
than $5, while whisky sold f jT over $30 a gallon. With flour 
at $1 per pound, and luxuries in proportion, it was a ques- 
tion of but a few days at the rendezvous before the labor of 
months was used up. The traders were often called upon 
to fit out the men upon credit, after a prosperous season. 



To be a successful trapper required great caution, as 
well as a perfect knowledge of the habits of the animals. 
The residence of the beaver was often discovered by seeing 
bits of green wood and gnawed branches of the basswood, 
slippery elm, and sycamore, their favorite food, floating on 
the water or lodged on the shores of the stream below, as 
well as by their tracks or foot-marks. 

These indications were technically called "beaver signs." 
They were also sometimes discovered by their dams thrown 
across creeks and small, sluggish streams, forming a pond 
in which were erected their habitations. 

The hunter, as he proceeded to set his traps, generally 
approached by water, in his canoe. He selected a steep, 
abrupt spot in the bank of the creek, in which he excavated 
a hole with his paddle, as he sat in the canoe, sufficiently 
large to hold the trap, and so deep as to be about three 
inches below the surface of the water, when the jaws of 
the trap were expanded. About two feet above the trap, a 
stick, three or four inches in length, was stuck in the bank. 
In the upper end of this stick the trapper cut a small hole 
with his knife, into which he dropped a small quantity of 
the essence of perfume, which was used to attract the 
beaver to the spot. This stick was fastened by a string of 
horse-hair to the trap, and with it was pulled into the water 
by the beaver. The reason for this was that it might not 
remain after the trap was sprung, and attract other beavers 
to the spot, and thus prevent their seeking other traps 
ready for them. 



This scent, or essence, was made by mingling the fresh 
castor of the beaver with an extract of the bark of the 
roots of the spice-bush, and then kept in a bottle for use. 
The making of this essence was kept a profound secret, 
and often sold for a considerable sum to the younger trap- 
pers by the older proficients in the mysteries of beaver- 
hunting. Where trappers had no proper bait, they some- 
times made use of the fresh roots of the sassafras or spice- 
bush, of both of which the beaver was very fond. 

It is said by old trappers that the beaver will smell the 
well-prepared essence the distance of a mile, their sense of 
smell being very acute, or they would not so readily detect 
the vicinity of man by the scent of his trail. The aroma of 
the essence, having attracted the beaver to the vicinity of 
the trap, in his attempt to reach it he has to climb up on 
the bank where it is sticking. This effort leads him 
directly over the trap, and he is usually caught by one of 
his fore legs. 

The trap was connected by an iron chain, six feet in 
length, to a stout line made of the bark of the leather 
wood, twisted into a neat cord fifteen or twenty feet in 
length. These cords were usually prepared by the trap- 
pers at home, or at their camps, for cords of hemp or flax 
were scarce in the days of beaver-hunting. The end of the 
line was secured to a stake driven into the bed of the creek 
under water, and in the beaver's struggles to escape he was 
usually drowned before the arrival of the trapper. Some- 
times, however, he freed himself by gnawing off his own 
leg, though this rarely happened. 

When setting the trap, if it was raining, or there was a 
prospect of rain, a leaf, generally of sycamore, was placed 
over the essence stick to protect it from the rain. 

The beaver was a very sagacious and cautious animal, 
and it required great care in the trapper in his approach to 


his haunts to set his traps, that no scent of his hands or 
feet should be left on the earth or bushes that he touched. 
For this reason the trapper generally approached in a 
canoe. If he had no canoe it was necessary to enter the 
stream thirty or forty yards below where he wished to set 
his trap, and walk up the stream to the place, taking care 
to return in the same manner, lest the beaver should take 
alarm and not come near the bait, as his fear of the vicinity 
of man was greater than his appetite for the essence. 

Caution was also required in kindling a fire near the 
haunts of the beaver, as the smell of smoke alarmed them. 
The firing of a gun, also, often marred the sport of the 

Thus it will be seen that, to make a successful beaver 
hunter, required more qualities or natural gifts than fall to 
the share of most men. 



In the early part of June, 1S50, I loaded my train, con- 
sisting of ten wagons drawn by 130 oxen, at Kansas City, 
Mo., with merchandise destined for Santa Fe, N. M., 
a distance of about eight hundred miles from Kansas City, 
and started for that point. After being out some eight or 
ten days and traveling through what was then called Indian 
Territory, but was not organized until four years later, and 
was then styled Kansas. Arriving one evening at a stream 
called One Hundred and Ten, I camped for the night. I 
unyoked my oxen and turned them upon the grass. Find- 
ing the grass so good and the animals weary with the day's 
work, I thought they would not stroll away, and therefore 
did not put any guard, as was my custom. 

At early dawn on the following morning I arose, saddled 
my horse, which, by the way, was a good one, and told my 
assistant to arouse the teamsters, so they could be ready 
to yoke their teams as soon as I drove them into the corral, 
which was formed by the wagons. I rode around what I 
supposed to be all the herd, but in rounding them up before 
reaching the wagons, I discovered that there were a number 
of them missing. I then made a circle, leaving the ones I 
had herded together. I had not traveled very far when I 
struck the trail of the missing oxen; it being very plain, I 
could ride my horse on a gallop and keep track of it. 

I had not traveled more than a mile when I discovered 
the tracks of Indian ponies. I then knew the Indians had 
driven off my oxen. I thought of the fact that I was un- 



armed, not thinking it necessary to take my gun when I 
left the wagons, as I only expected to go a few hundred 
yards. We had not yet reached the portion of the territory 
where we would expect to meet hostile Indians, so I went 
ahead on the trail, thinking it was some half-friendly ones 
that had driven my oxen away, as they sometimes did, in 
order to get a fee for finding and bringing them back 

I expected to overtake them at any moment, for the trail 
looked very fresh, as though they were only a short dis- 
tance ahead of me. So on and on I went, galloping my 
horse most of the time, until I had gone about twelve miles 
from my camp. I passed through a skirt of timber that 
divided one portion of the open prairie from the other, and 
there overtook thirty-four head of my oxen resting from 
their travel. 

About sixty yards to the east of the cattle were six 
painted Indian braves, who had dismounted from their 
horses, each one leaning against his horse, with his right 
hand resting upon his saddle, their guns being in their left. 
I came upon them suddenly, the timber preventing them 
from seeing me until I was within a few rods of them. I 
threw up my hand, went in a lope around my oxen, giving 
some hideous yells, and told the cattle they could go back 
to the wagons on the trail they had come. They at once 
heeded me and started. I never saw six meaner or more 
surprised looking men than those six braves were, for I 
think they thought I had an armed party just behind me, 
or I would not have acted so courageously as I did. So I 
followed my cattle, who were ready to take their way back, 
and left the six savages standing in dismay. The oxen and 
myself were soon out of sight in the forest, and that is the 
last I saw of the six braves who had been sent out by their 
chief the night before to steal the oxen. 


Very soon after I got through the timber and into the 
prairie again I met, from time to time, one or two Indians 
trotting along on their ponies, following the trail that the 
cattle made when their comrades drove them off. When 
within a short distance of the herd they would leave the 
trail and leave plenty of space to the cattle, fall in behind 
me, and trot on toward the six braves I had left. I will 
say here that I began to feel very much elated over my suc- 
cess in capturing my cattle from six armed savages, and 
being given the right-of-way by other parties also armed. 
But I did not have to travel very far under the pleasant 
reflection that I was a hero; when I was about half-way 
back to the wagons I looked ahead about half-a-mile and 
saw a large body of Indians, comprising some twenty-five 
warriors, who proved to be under the command of their 
chief, armed and coming toward me. I then began to feel 
a little smaller than I had a few minutes previous, for I was 
entirely unarmed, and even had I been armed what could I 
have done with twenty-five armed savages? 

My fears were very soon realized, for when they arrived 
within a few hundred yards of me and the chief saw me 
returning with the cattle he had sent his braves to drive off, 
he commanded his men to make a descent upon me, and he 
undertook the job of leading them. They raised a hideous 
yell and started toward me at the top of their horses' speed. 
If my oxen had not been driven so far and become to some 
extent tired, I would have had a royal stampede. The ani- 
mals only ran a few hundred yards until I succeeded in 
holding them up. By this time the Indians had reached me 
and my cattle. The braves surrounded the cattle, and the 
chief came at the top of his horse's speed directly toward 
me, with his gun drawn up in striking attitude. Of course 
I did not allow him to get in reaching distance. I turned my 
horse and put spurs to him; he was a splendid animal and 


it was a comparatively easy matter for me to keep out of 
the reach of the vicious chief, who did not want to kill me, 
but desired to scare me, or cause me to run away and leave 
my herd, or disable me so I could not follow him and his 
band if they attempted to take the cattle. 

This chasing me off for some distance was repeated three 
times, I returning in close proximity to where his braves 
surrounded the cattle on every side, some on foot holding 
their ponies, others on horseback. Those who had alighted 
were dancing and yelling at the tops of their voices. The 
third time I returned to where the chief and one of his 
braves, armed with bow and arrows, were sitting on their 
horses, some distance from the cattle and in line between 
me and the group of braves. When I got within thirty or 
forty yards of him he beckoned me to come to him, for 
all the communication we had was carried on by means of 
signs; I did not speak their language nor they mine. I rode 
cautiously up side by side, a short distance from the chief, 
with our horses' heads in the same direction. When I had 
fairly stopped to see what he was going to do, his brave 
who was on the opposite side from me slid off his horse, 
ran under the neck of the chief's, and made a lunge to 
catch the bridle of my horse. His sudden appearance 
caused the animal to jump so quick and far that he had 
just missed getting hold of the rein. Had he succeeded in 
the attempt they would have taken my horse and oxen and 
cleared out, leaving me standing on the prairie. When he 
found he had failed in his attempt, he returned to his horse, 
mounted, and he and the chief rode slowly toward me, for 
I had reined up my horse when I found T was out of reach. 
I sat still to see what their next maneuver would be. The 
brave changed from the left of the chief to the right as 
they came slowly toward me. When they got within a few 
feet of me, with the heads of our horses in the same direc- 


tion, they reined up their ponies and the brave suddenly 
drew his bow at full bend, with a sharp-pointed steel in the 
end of the arrow. He aimed at my heart with the most 
murderous, vindictive, and devilish look on his face and 
from his eyes that I ever saw portrayed on any living face 
before or since. Of course there was no time for doing 
anything but to keep my eye steadfast on his. To show 
the influence of the mind over the body, while he was point- 
ing the arrow at me I felt a place as large as the palm of 
my hand cramping where the arrow would have struck me 
had he shot. While in this position he pronounced the 
word " say " with all the force he could summon. I did 
not at that time understand what he meant. The chief 
relieved my suspense by holding up his ten fingers and 
pointing to the oxen. I then understood that if I gave 
him ten of my animals he would not put the dart through 
me. I felt that I could not spare that number and move 
on with my train to its destination, and in a country where 
I had not the opportunity of obtaining others, so I refused. 
He then threw up five fingers and motioned to the cattle. 
Again I shook my head. He then motioned me to say how 
many I would give, and I held up one finger. The moment 
I did so he gave the word of command to his braves, who 
were still dancing and screaming round the cattle, and 
they, whirling into line, selected one of the animals so 
quickly that one had hardly time to think, and left thirty- 
three of the oxen and myself standing in the prairie. I had 
held them there so long, refusing to let them go without 
following them, I think they were afraid some of my party 
would overtake me. There was no danger of that had they 
only known it, for on my return I found all my men at the 
wagons wondering what had become of me. I had left the 
camp at daylight and it was after noon when I returned. 
In conclusion, I will say that never at any time in my 


life, and I have encountered a great many dangers, have I 
felt so small and helpless as upon this occasion, being sur- 
rounded by twenty-five or thirty armed savages and with 
whom I could communicate only by signs. To surrender 
the animals to them was financial ruin, and to stay with 
them was hazarding my life and receiving the grossest 
abuse and insults. The effect of passing through this 
ordeal, on my mind, was that I became so reduced in stat- 
ure, I felt as if I was no larger than my thumb, a humming- 
bird or a mouse; all three passed through my mind, and I 
actually looked at myself to see if it was possible I was so 

No one can tell, until he has been overpowered by hos- 
tile savages, how small he will become in his own estima- 
tion. However, when they left me, I at once came back 
to my natural size and felt as if a great weight had been 
lifted from me. 

Although the Indians were nothing more nor less than 
specimens of nature's sons, without any education what- 
ever of a literary nature, they were very shrewd and quick 
to see and take up an insult. They were remarkable for 
reading faces, and although they were not able to under- 
stand one word of English, they could tell when looking 
at a white man and his comrades when in conversation 
about them, almost precisely what they were saying by the 
shadows that would pass over their faces, and by the nod- 
ding of heads and movement of hands or shoulders, for the 
reason that they talked with each other and the different 
tribes that they would meet by signs, and it was done gen- 
erally by the movement of the hands. 

They had but few vices, in fact might say almost none 
outside of their religious teachings, which allowed them to 
steal horses and fur skins, and sometimes take the lives of 
enemies or opposing tribes. Persons who were not thor- 


oughly acquainted with Indian character and life might 
wonder why there were so many different tribes — or bands, 
as they were sometimes called — and if it could be there were 
so many nationalities among them. This is accounted for 
solely and truly upon the fact that when a tribe grew to a 
certain number it became a necessity in nature for them to 
divide, which would form two bands or tribes and at that 
point of time and condition it became necessary for the 
one leaving the main tribe to have a name to designate 
themselves from the family that they had of necessity 
parted from, for as soon as a tribe reached such a propor- 
tion in numbers that it was inconvenient for them to ren- 
dezvous at some given point easy of access, their necessi- 
ties in such cases demanded a new deal or different 
arrangements; hence the different names by which tribes 
were called. 

These tribes differed in their methods of living according 
to the conditions with which they were surrounded. Indians 
who lived along the Atlantic Coast and made their living 
from fishing, as well as from hunting, were very different 
from the Indians of the plains and Rocky Mountain regions, 
who live almost solely upon buffalo and other varieties of 
game that they were able to secure. 

The Indians from the Atlantic and Mississippi valleys 
were more dangerous, as a rule, when they came into a com- 
bat with white soldiers, than were the Indians of the plains 
and Rockies. The Shawnee and Delaware Indian braves 
a hundred years ago, when my grandfather was an Indian 
fighter in Kentucky, were considered equal to any white 
soldiers and proved themselves in battle to be so. Their 
mode of warfare, however, was not on horseback, as was 
the mode of warfare with the Indians of the plains. They 
were "still" hunters, as they might be called, and when 
they met with white men in battle array, would get behind 


trees, if possible, as a protection, and remain and fight to 
the bitter end. WHeh these tribes became overpowered, it 
was easy, compared with the Indians of the plains, to bring 
them under some of the conditions of civilization; therefore 
the Cherokees, Seminoles, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Shawnees, 
Delawares, Wyandottes, Kickapoos, Sacs, Foxes, the 
Creeks, and many others whose names I can not now recall, 
have become somewhat civilized, and many of them semi- 
civilized tribes, but the Indians of the plains and Rocky 
Mountain regions have been very slow to accept what we 
term civilization. They seem somewhat like the buffalo 
and other wild animals that we have never been able to 
domesticate. It looks to one like myself that has known 
them for so many years, that before they are civilized they 
will become almost exterminated; that is to say that civil- 
ized life does not agree with them, and they die from 
causes and conditions that such life compels them to exist 
under, and in my opinion the day will come when there 
will be few, if any, in the near future, left of the tribes that 
were known to belong to the territory west of the Missis- 
sippi River and extending to the Pacific Coast. There 
was often among the wildest tribes of America many good 
traits. If they found you hungry and alone and in distress, 
as a rule they would take care of you, giving you the very 
best they had, and never with a view of charging you for 
their kindness. If they had a grudge against the white 
race for some misdemeanor some white man may have com- 
mitted, they might kill you in retaliation.. For this reason 
white men always felt, when they were among them, that 
their safety depended largely upon how the tribe had been 
treated by some other white man, or party of white men. 
As far as I know, throughout the entire savage tribes retal- 
iation is one of the laws by which they are governed. The 
women, as a rule, were very generous and kind-hearted, 


and I know of one case where a friend of mine, Judge 
Brown of Pettis County, Mo., had his life saved and his 
property restored to him through the instrumentality of an 
Indian woman. The Indians were at that time quite hos- 
tile toward the whites, and had held council and determined 
to kill him, as they had him a prisoner and at their mercy. 
This woman seemed to be one of great influence in the 
tribe, and when the braves held their council and decided 
to take his life and property, she rose to her feet and 
plead for the life of my friend. Of course he could not 
understand a word she said, but he saw in her face a 
benevolence and kindness that gave him heart, for he had 
about despaired of ever living another hour. From the 
way in which she looked, talked, and gestured, he felt cer- 
tain that she was assuming his cause, and he in relating 
the circumstances to me and others said he never saw a 
greater heroine in the appearance and conduct of any 
woman in his life. Of course this he had to judge largely 
of from appearances, as the Indians judge of the white 
people that I before alluded to. 



Everything worked along smoothly on. my westward 
way, after my adventure with the Indians, until I reached 
Walnut Creek, at the Big Bend of the Arkansas River. At 
that point the buffalo, running past my herd of oxen in the 
night, scattered them, part running with the buffalo and 
crossing the river where it was very high, it being the sea- 
son of the year when the channel was full of water, from 
the melting of the snow in the mountains from which it 
received its waters. The next morning, as before, at the 
One Hundred and Ten, I found a portion of my herd 
missing, but not so many this time as to prevent me from 
traveling. I had the teams hitched up, some of them being 
a yoke of oxen minus, but sufficient remained to move 
the wagons, and I started my assistant, Mr. Samuel Poteet, 
one of the most faithful of my men, on the road with the 
teams, and I took my extra man to hunt for the missing 
oxen. We crossed the river where it was almost at swim- 
ming point and at the place where the buffalo had crossed 
the night before, for we had followed their trail for several 
miles. After losing the trail, for they had so scattered we 
could not tell which trail to take, we wandered around for 
a time in the open prairie, expecting Indians to appear at 
any moment; but in that we were happily disappointed. 
I finally found my cattle all standing in a huddle near a 
pond. We soon surrounded them and started driving them 
to the river, crossed them and reached the road, following 
the train, until we overtook it a little before sundown that 



evening. From that point there was nothing to trouble * 
or disturb our movements until we reached the Wagon 
Mounds, beyond the borders of New Mexico, now a station 
upon the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad. There 
we came upon the ruins of a stage-coach which had been 
burned; the bones and skeletons of some of the horses that 
drew it, as well as the bones of the party of ten men who 
were murdered outright by the Indians. Not one escaped 
to tell the story, and they were, I think, a party of ten as 
brave men as could be found anywhere. Whether there 
were any Indians killed while they were massacring this 
party is not known, for it was some few days before 
the news of the affair was known, as there was little travel 
over the road at that season of the year. 

This party had passed me on the road some weeks before, 
and being able to travel three times as far per day as I 
could, had reached the point of their fate several weeks 
before, so we could see nothing but the bones the wolves 
had scratched out of the ground where they had been 
buried. In fact there was nothing to bury when we found 
them. The wolves would not even let them lie at rest. It 
seemed there was no flesh the wolves could get hold of 
they were so fond of as the flesh of an American or white 
man, and, strange to say, they would not eat a Mexican at 
all. It frequently happened that when the Indians killed 
a party on the Santa F6 Road there were both Mexicans 
and Americans left dead upon the same spot. When found 
the bodies of the Americans would invariably be eaten, and 
the bodies of the Mexicans lying intact without any inter- 
ference at all. 

There were various speculations with travelers along that 
road as to why this was so. Some thought it was because 
the Mexicans were so saturated with red pepper, they mak- 
ing that a part of their diet. Others thought it was 


because they were such inveterate smokers and were always 
smoking cigarettes. I have no suggestions to make on the 
subject any further than to say such was a fact, and there 
are many American boys to-day who would not be eaten 
by wolves, so impregnated are they with nicotine. 

After passing this gloomy spot at the Wagon Mounds, 
which almost struck terror to our hearts to see the bones 
of our fellow-men who had been swept away by the hand 
of the savages, without a moment's warning, we pursued 
our way to Santa F6, N. M., and delivered my freight 
to the merchants. They paid me the cash, $13,000 in 
silver — Mexican dollars — for freighting their goods to that 
point, a distance of 800 miles from the place of loading at 
Kansas City, Mo. I returned home without any further 
drawbacks or molestations on that trip. 

On arriving home I found that Maj. E. A. Ogden of Fort 
Leavenworth desired to send a load of Government freight 
to Fort Mann, 400 miles west on the same road I had just 
traveled over, at about the point on the Arkansas River 
where Fort Dodge now stands. I agreed with him on terms 
at once, and loaded my wagons for that point. Lieutenant 
Heath of the United States Army was in command of the 
litttle post at Fort Mann. I arrived in good time, with 
everything in good order, and when the Government 
freights were unloaded he expressed a desire that I should 
take my entire train and go south about twenty-five miles, 
where there was some large timber growing near a stream 
called Cottonwood, for the purpose of bringing him a lot 
of saw-logs to make lumber for the building of his post. A 
more gentlemanly or clever man I never met in the United 
States Army or out of it — thoroughly correct in his dealings, 
and kind and courteous as could be. I made the trip and 
brought him a fine lot of cottonwood and walnut saw-logs, 
for these were the only kinds of timber that grew along the 


stream, unloaded them at his camp and returned home 
without losing any men or animals. The men were all in 
fine health and good spirits, as men generally are when 
everything moves successfully in their business, and partic- 
ularly a business which hangs upon so many contingencies 
as our trips across the plains did. 

In the year 185 1 I again crossed the plains with a full 
outfit of twenty-five wagons and teams. This trip was a 
complete success; we met with no molestations, and 
returned home without the loss of any animals, but, owing 
to the cholera prevailing to some extent among the men who 
were on the plains, I lost two men by that disease. Sev- 
eral would have died, perhaps, but for the fact thai I had 
provided myself with the proper remedies before leaving 
Kansas City. In 1852 I corraled my wagons, sold my 
oxen to California emigrants, and did no more work upon 
the plains that year. In 1853 I bought a new supply of 
work-cattle and again loaded my wagons at Kansas City for 
Santa Fe, N. M., as I had previously been doing. I was very 
successful in my operations that year, meeting with no loss 
of men and no animals worth mentioning. I also made a 
second trip that year from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Union, 
in New Mexico, returning to my home near Westport, Mo., 
late in November. During the year 1854 I also went upon 
the plains as a freighter, changing my business from 
freighting for the merchants in New Mexico to carrying 
United States Government freights. At this time I added 
to my transportation, making 100 wagons and teams for 
that year, divided into four trains. Everything moved 
along this year in a most prosperous way, without loss of 
life among my men, but I lost a great many of my work- 
cattle on account of the Texas fever. The loss was not so 
great, however, as to impede my traveling. The Govern- 
ment officers with whom I came in contact at either end of 


the route were well pleased with my way of doing business 
as a freighter, for everything was done in the most prompt 
and business-like manner. 

In 1855 W. H. Russell of Lexington, Mo., and I formed 
a partnership under the name and style of Majors & Rus- 
sell. That year we carried all the Government freight 
that had to be sent from Fort Leavenworth to the different 
posts or forts. The cholera prevailed among our men that 
year. Not more than two or three died, however, but 
quite a delay and additional expense were caused on 
account of this dire disease among our teamsters, with a 
train load of freight for Fort Riley. This was in June, 
and the train was almost deserted. Another train was 
entirely deserted, the sick men being taken to some of the 
farmers in the neighborhood, the well ones leaving for their 
homes, our oxen scattering and going toward almost every 
point of the compass. It was not long, however, until we 
got straightened again, and the train started for its desti- 

Not long after this Maj. A. E. Ogden, the United States 
quartermaster at Fort Leavenworth, was taken with the 
cholera, and died at Fort Riley. A more honest, straight- 
forward, and Christian gentleman could not be found in 
any army, or out of it. He had more excellent qualities 
than are generally allotted to man, and his death was much 
mourned by all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance. 
He left a very estimable wife and several children to mourn 
his death. 

After the cholera disappeared that year, the freighting 
business moved along nicely and resulted in a prosperous 
year's work, after all the drawbacks in the early part of the 

We also did a large business in freighting in 1856. I 
think that year we had about three hundred to three nun- 


dred and fifty wagons and teams at work, and our profits 
for 1855 and 1856 footed up about three hundred thousand 
dollars. This sum included our wagons, oxen, and other 
freighting and transportation outfits, valuing them at what 
we thought they would bring the beginning of the freight- 
ing season the next year. 

In 1857 the Government extended the contract to Majors 
& Russell for one year longer, and it was during this year 
the United States Government determined to send an army 
to Utah to curtail the power that Brigham Young was 
extending over the destiny of that country; many com- 
plaints having reached Washington through the Govern- 
ment officials who had been sent to the Territory to preside 
as judges in the United States Courts. This resulted in a 
very great increase of transportation that year, and great 
difficulties were encountered, to begin with, which required 
quite an increase in the facilities for transportation, which 
had to be very hurriedly brought together. Before all the 
Government freight reached Fort Leavenworth, it became 
too late for trains to reach the headquarters of the army 
before cold weather set in, in the high altitude of Fort 
Bridger and that portion of the country where the army 
was in winter quarters; therefore many of the animals 
perished on account of having to be kept, under army orders, 
where grass and water were sometimes scarce, and they 
suffered more or less from severe cold weather. The result 
was great loss of the work-animals and an entire loss of 
the previous two years' profits. 

A party of Mormons, under command of Col. Lott Smith, 
had been sent out by the Mormon authorities in the rear of 
Johnston's army to cut off his supplies. They captured and 
burned three of our trains, two on the Sandy, just east of 
Green River, and one on the west bank of Green River. 
They gave the captain of each train the privilege of taking 


one of his best wagons and teams and loading it with sup- 
plies, to return home or back to the starting point. They 
committed no outrage whatever toward the men, and, as soon 
as the captain of each train told them he had all the food 
necessary to supply him to get back to the starting point, 
they told him to abandon the train, and they were set on 
fire and everything burned that was consumable. The cap- 
tains of the trains, with their teamsters, returned to the 
States in safety. The cattle were driven off by the Mor- 
mons, and those that were not used for beef by the hungry 
men were returned in the summer to the company after 
peace had been made between the Mormons and the Gov- 
ernment. The loss to the army was about five hundred 
thousand pounds of Government supplies. This loss put 
the army upon short rations for that winter and spring, 
until they could be reached with supplies in the spring of 

That spring, our firm, under the name of Russell, 
Majors & Waddell, obtained a new contract from the 
United States Government to carry Government freight to 
Utah for the years 1858-59. That year the Government 
ordered an immense lot of freight, aggregating 16,000,000 
pounds, most of which had to be taken to Utah. We had 
to increase the transportation from three or four hundred 
wagons and teams we had previously owned to 3,500 wagons 
and teams, and it required more than forty thousand oxen to 
draw the supplies; we also employed over four thousand 
men and about one thousand mules. 

Our greatest drawback that year was occasioned by floods 
and heavy rains upon the plains, which made our trains 
move tardily in the outset. We succeeded admirably, how- 
ever, considering the vast amount of material we had to 
get together and organize, which we could not have done 
had we not had so many years' experience, previous to this 


great event, in the freighting enterprise; and especially was 
this so with me, for I had had, previous to this, a great 
many years' experience in handling men and teams, even 
before I crossed the plains ten years before. We succeeded 
this year in carrying everything to the army in Utah, fifty 
miles south of Salt Lake City, to Camp Floyd, the head- 
quarters of Sidney Johnston's command, a distance of 
1,250 miles. 

After unloading the wagons at Camp Floyd, they were 
taken to Salt Lake City and placed as near as they could 
stand to each other in the suburbs of the city, and covered 
many acres of ground, where they remained for one year 
or more, when our agent sold them to the Mormon author- 
ities for $10 apiece, they having cost us at the manufacturers' 
$150 to $175 apiece. The Mormons used the iron about 
them for the manufacture of nails. The oxen we sent to 
Skull Valley and other valleys near Camp Floyd, known to 
be good winter quarters for cattle and mules. During the 
year 1859, while our teams were at Camp Floyd we selected 
3,500 head as suitable to drive to California and put on the 
market, and they were driven to Ruby Valley, in Nevada, 
where it was intended they should remain, that being con- 
sidered a favorable winter locality; and in the spring of 
i860 they were to be driven to California, the intention 
being to let them graze on the wild oats and clover in the 
valleys of the Sacramento, and convert them into beef- 
cattle when fully ready for the market. A very few days 
after the herders reached the valley with them, which was 
late in November, a snow-storm set in and continued more 
or less severe, at intervals, until it covered the ground to 
such a depth that it was impossible for the cattle to get 
a particle of subsistence, and in less than forty days after 
the animals were turned out in the valley they were lying 
in great heaps frozen and starved to death. Only 200 


out of the 3,500 survived the storm. They were worth at 
the time they were turned into the valley about $150,000, 
as they were a very superior and select lot of oxen. This 
was the largest disaster we met with during the years 1858 
and 1859. 

In 1857 the Indians attacked the herders who had charge 
of about one thousand head on the Platte River, west of Fort 
Kearney, which is now called Kearney City, in Nebraska, 
killing one of the herders and scattering the cattle to the 
four winds. These were also a complete loss. 

We had very little trouble with the Indians in 1857, 1858, 
and 1859 in any way, owing to the fact that Johnston's army, 
consisting of about five thousand regulars, besides the team- 
sters, making in all about seven thousand well-armed men, 
had passed through the country in 1857, and they had seen 
such a vast army, with their artillery, that they were com- 
pletely intimidated, and stayed at a very respectful distance 
from the road on which this vast number of wagons and 
teams traveled. Each one of our wagons was drawn by 
six yoke, or twelve oxen, and contained from five to six 
thousand pounds of freight, and there was but one wagon 
to each team. The time had not yet come when, what 
was afterward adopted, trail wagons were in use. This 
means two or three wagons lashed together and drawn by 
one team. Twenty-five of our wagons and teams formed 
what was called a train, and these trains were scattered 
along the road at intervals of anywhere from two to three 
miles, and sometimes eight to ten miles, and even greater 
distances, so as to keep out of the way of each other. 

The road, until we reached the South Fass, was over the 
finest line of level country for traveling by wagons, with 
plenty of water and grass at almost every step of the way. 
Crossing the South Platte at what was then called Jules- 
burg, and going across the divide to North Platte, at Ash 


Hollow, we continued in the valley of the North Platte to 
the mouth of the Sweetwater, and up that stream until 
we passed through the South Pass. After passing that 
point it was somewhat more difficult to find grass and 
water, but we were fortunate enough all along the road to 
get sufficient subsistence out of nature for the sustenance 
of our animals, and were not obliged to feed our oxen. 
They did the work allotted to them, and gathered their 
own living at nights and noon-times. 

In the fall of 1857 a report was sent by the engineers who 
were with General Johnston's army at Fort Bridger, and who 
had crossed the plains that year, to the Quartermaster's 
Department at Washington, stating it was impossible to 
find subsistence along the road for the number of animals 
it would require to transport the freight necessary for the 
support of the army. General Jessup, who was then Quar- 
termaster of the United States Army at Washington, and 
as fine a gentleman as I ever met, gave me this informa- 
tion, and asked me if it would deter me from undertaking 
the transportation. I told him it would not, and that I 
would be willing to give him my head for a foot-ball to 
have kicked in Pennsylvania Avenue if I did not supply 
the army with every pound that was necessary for its sub- 
sistence, provided the Government would pay me to do it. 
We satisfied him after the first year's work had been done 
that we could do even more than I assured him could be 

There is no other road in the United States, nor in my 
opinion elsewhere, of the same length, where such numbers 
of men and animals could travel during the summer season 
as could over the thoroughfare from the Missouri River up 
the Platte and its tributaries to the Rocky Mountains. In 
fact, had it been necessary to go east from the Missouri 
River, instead of west, it would have been impossible in 


the nature of things to have done so, owing to the uneven 
surface of the country, the water being in little deep ravines 
and, as a rule, in small quantities, often muddy creeks to 
cross, at other times underbrush and timber that the ani- 
mals could have roamed into and disappeared, all of which 
would have prevented progress had we started with such 
an enterprise east instead of west. But the country west of 
the Missouri River for hundreds of miles, so far as making 
roads for travel of large numbers of animals is concerned, is 
as different from the east as it is possible for two landscapes 
to be. The whole country from the west border of the 
Missouri, Iowa, and Arkansas was thoroughly practical, 
before inhabited by farmers, for carrying the very largest 
herds and organizations of people on what one might term 
perfectly natural ground, often being able to travel hun- 
dreds of miles toward the sunset without a man having to 
do one hour's work in order to prepare the road for the 
heaviest wagons and teams. 

The road from Missouri to Santa F6, N. M., up the 
Arkansas River, a distance of 800 miles, was very much 
like the one up the Platte River, and over which millions 
of pounds of merchandise were carried, and where oxen 
almost invariably, but sometimes mules, did the work and 
subsisted without a bite of any other food than that ob- 
tained from the grasses that grew by the roadside. 

The roads all running west from the Missouri River came 
up the valleys of the Platte, Kansas, or Arkansas rivers, 
running directly from the mountains to the Missouri River. 
These rivers had wide channels, low banks, and sandy bot- 
toms, into which a thousand animals could go at one time, 
if necessary, for drink, and spread over the surface, so as 
not to be in each other's way, and whatever disturbance 
they made in the water, in the way of offal or anything of 
that kind, was soon overcome by the filtering of the water 


through the sand, which kept it pure, and thousands of men 
and animals could find purer water on account of these 

Then again the first expedient in the way of fuel was 
what was called buffalo chips, which was the offal from the 
buffalo after lying and being dried by the sun; and, strange 
to say, the economy of nature was such, in this particular, 
that the large number of work-animals left at every camp- 
ing-place fuel sufficient, after being dried by the sun, to 
supply the necessities of the next caravan or party that 
traveled along. In this way the fuel supply was inexhaust- 
ible while animals traveled and fed upon the grasses. 

This, however, did not apply to travel east of the Mis- 
souri River, as the offal from the animals there soon became 
decomposed and was entirely worthless for fuel purposes. 
This was altogether owing to the difference in the grasses 
that grew west of the Missouri River on the plains and in 
the Rocky Mountains and that which grew in the States east of 
the Missouri. Thus the fuel supply was sufficient for the 
largest organizations of people who, in those days, were 
traveling on the plains. Armies, small and great, that found 
it necessary to cross the plains, found sufficient supply of 
this fuel, and it seemed to be a necessity supplied by nature 
on the vast open and untimbered plains lying between the 
Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains, far beyond the 
Canadian line to the north, without which it would have 
been practically impossible to have crossed the plains with 
any degree of comfort, and in cold weather would have been 
absolutely impossible. 

The small groups of timber growing along the streams 
would soon have been exhausted if used for fuel, and there 
would have been nothing to supply those who came later. 

History records no other instance of like nature, where 
an immense area of country had the same necessity and 


where that necessity was supplied in such a manner as on 
the vast plains west of the Missouri River. These chips 
would lay for several years in perfect condition for fuel. 


"the jayhawkers of 1849." 

In this year a number of gentlemen made up a party 
and started for the far West. During that fearful journey 
they were lost for three months in the " Great American 
Desert," the region marked on the map as the " unexplored 
region." General Fremont, with all the patronage of the 
Government at his command, tried to cross this desert at 
several points, but failed in every attempt. This desert is 
bounded by the Rocky Mountains and Wasatch range on the 
east and the Sierra Nevada on the west. From either side 
running streams sink near the base of the mountains, and 
no water exists except alkali and the hot springs impreg- 
nated with nitre. 

The party arrived at Salt Lake late in the season of '49. 
It was thought by the older members of the company to 
be too late to cross the Sierra Nevada by the northern 
routes. No wagon had ever made the trip to the Pacific 
Coast by way of the Spanish Trail from Santa Fe to the 
Pacific, but it was determined to undertake this perilous 
journey. Captain Hunt, commander of the Mormon Bat- 
talion in the Mexican War, agreed to pilot the train through 
to Pueblo de los Angeles for the sum of $1,200. The 
weather south being too warm for comfortable travel, the 
party remained in Salt Lake City two months, leaving that 
place October 3, 1849. Upon their arrival at Little Salt 
Lake, a few restless comrades, angry that the party did not 
go through by the northern route, formed a band and 
determined to cross the desert at all hazards, and thus save 

"the jayhawkers of 1849." 151 

hundreds of miles' travel via Los Angeles route. The suf- 
ferings they endured can not be described. 

The survivors have since been scattered through the 
country, and have never come together since they sepa- 
rated at Santa Barbara, on the Pacific, February 4, 1850, 
until the twenty-third anniversary of their arrival was cele- 
brated at the residence of Col. John B. Colton. The fol- 
lowing letter will explain: 

Galesburg, III., January 12, 1872. 
Dear Sir: You are invited to attend a reunion of the 
" Jayhawkers of '49," on the 5th clay of February next at 
10 o'clock in the forenoon, at my house, to talk over old 
times and compare notes, after the lapse of twenty-three 
years from the time when the " Jayhawkers " crossed the 
"Great American Desert." 

In the event that you can not be present, will you write 
a letter immediately on receipt of this, to be read on that 
occasion, giving all the news and reminiscences that will 
be of interest to the old crowd? 

Yours fraternally, 

John B. Colton. 

A short sketch of the party's wanderings may not be 
amiss. On the 5th of April, 1849, a large party of men, 
with oxen and wagons, started from Galesburg, III., and 
vicinity for the then newly discovered gold-fields of Cal- 
ifornia. To distinguish their party from other parties who 
went the same year, they jestingly took the name of " Jay- 
hawkers," and that name has clung to them through all 
the years that have come and gone. 

They encountered no trouble until after leaving Little 
Salt Lake, when taking the directions given them by Indian 
Walker and Ward— old mountaineers, who gave them a 
diagram and told them they could save 500 miles to the 
mines in California by taking the route directed — the Jay- 
hawkers branched off from the main body. They found 


nothing as represented, and became lost en the desert, 
wandering for months, traversing the whole length of the 
Great American Desert, which Fremont, with all the aid of 
the Government at his call, could not cross the shortest 
way, and laid it down on the map as the " unexplored 

They cut up their wagons on Silver Mountain and made 
of them pack-saddles for their cattle. Here thirteen of 
their number branched off, on New Year's day, taking what 
jerked beef they could carry, and started due west over the 
mountains, which the main party could not do on account 
of their cattle, but when they came to a mountain they 
took a southerly course around it. Of these thirteen, 
but two lived to get through, and they were found by 
ranch Indians in a helpless condition, and brought in and 
cared for. They had cast lots and lived on each other 
until but two remained. When questioned afterward in 
regard to their trip, they burst into tears and could not talk 
of it. 

The main body of Jayhawkers kept their cattle, for they 
were their only hope; on these they lived, and the cattle 
lived on the bitter sage-brush and grease-wood, except when 
they occasionally found an oasis with water and a little 
grass upon it. The feet of the cattle were worn down until 
the blood marked their every step. Then the boys wrapped 
their feet in raw hides, as they did their own. Many died 
from exposure, hunger, and thirst, and were buried in the 
drifting sands where they fell, while those who were left 
moved on, weak and tottering, not knowing whose turn 
would be next. But for their cattle, not a man could have 
lived through that awful journey. They ate the hide, the 
blood, the refuse, and picked the bones in camp, making 
jerked beef of the balance to take along with them. 
People who are well fed, who have an abundance of the 

"the jayhawkers of 1849." 153 

good things of life, say: "I would not eat this; I would 
not eat that; I'd starve first." They are not in a position 
to judge. Hunger swallows up every other feeling, and 
man in a starving condition is as savage as a wild beast. 

After many desert wanderings and untold suffering, 
they at last struck a low pass in the Sierra Nevada Mount- 
ains, and emerged suddenly into the Santa Clara Valley, 
which was covered with grass and wild oats and flowers, 
with thousands of fat cattle feeding, a perfect paradise to 
those famished skeletons of men. There were thirty-four 
of the party who lived to reach that valley, and every one 
shed tears of joy at the sight of the glorious vision spread 
before them and the suddenness of their deliverance. 

The boys shot five head of the cattle, and were eating 
the raw flesh and fat when the ranch Indians, hearing the 
firing, came down with all the shooting irons they could 
muster, but seeing the helpless condition of the party, they 
rode back to headquarters and reported to Francisco, the 
Spaniard who owned the ranch and cattle. He came down 
and invited them to camp in a grove near his home, bade 
them welcome, and furnished the party with meat, milk, 
grain, and everything they needed, and kept them until 
they were recruited and able to go on their way. Verily, 
he was a good Samaritan. They were strangers, and he 
took them in; hungry, and he fed them; thirsty, and 
he gave them drink. In the grand summing up of all 
things, may the noble Francisco be rewarded a thousand- 

They reached the Santa Clara Valley the 4th of Febru- 
ary, 1850, and on that day each year they celebrate their 
deliverance by a reunion, where in pleasant companionship 
and around the festive board they recount reminiscences 
of the past, and live over again those scenes, when young 
and hopeful, they lived and suffered together. 


There are but eleven of the survivors of that party alive 
to-day, and these are widely scattered east of the Rocky 
Mountains and on the Pacific Slope. Some are old men, 
too feeble to travel, and can only be present in spirit and 
by letter at the annual reunions. Gladly would every Jay- 
hawker welcome one and all of that band, bound together 
by ties of suffering in a bond of brotherhood which naught 
but death can sever. 

The names and residences of the original party are as 

John B. Colton, Kansas City, Mo. 

Alonzo C. Clay, Galesburg, 111. 

Capt. Asa Haines, Delong, Knox County, 111., died 
March 29, 1889. 

Luther A. Richards, Beaver City, Neb. 

Charles B. Mecum, Perry, Greene County, Iowa. 

John W. Plummer, Toulon, 111., died June 22, 1892. 

Sidney P. Edgerton, Blair, Neb., died January 31, 1880. 

Edward F. Bartholomew, Pueblo, Colo., died February 13, 

Urban P. Davidson, Derby P. O., Fremont County, Wyo. 

John Groscup, Cahto, Mendocino County, Cal. 

Thomas McGrew, died in 1866, in Willamette Valley, Ore. 

John Cole, died in Sonora, Cal., in 1852. 

John L. West, Coloma, Cal., since died. 

William B. Rude, drowned in the Colorado River, New 
Mexico, in 1862. 

L. Dow Stevens, San Jos<5, Cal. 

William Robinson, Maquon, 111., died in the desert. 

Harrison, unknown. 

Alexander Palmer, Knoxville, 111., died at Slate Creek, 
Sierra County, Cal., in 1853. 

Aaron Larkin, Knoxville, 111., died at Humboldt, Cal., in 

"the jayhawkers of 1849." 155 

Marshall G. Edgerton, Galesburg, 111., died in Montana 
Territory in 1855. 

William Isham, Rochester, N. Y., died in the desert. 

Fish, Oscaloosa, Iowa, died in the desert. 

Carter, Wisconsin, unknown. 

Harrison Frans, Baker City, Baker County, Ore. 

Capt. Edwin Doty, Naples, Santa Barbara County, Cal., 
died June 14, 1891. 

Bruin Byram, Knoxville, 111., died in 1863. 

Thomas Shannon, Los Gatos, Santa Clara County, Cal. 

Rev. J. W. Brier, wife, and three small children, Lodi 
City, San Joaquin County, Cal. 

George Allen, Chico, Cal., died in 1876. 

Leander Woolsey, Oakland, Cal., died in 1884. 

Man from Oscaloosa, Iowa, name not remembered, died 
in California. 

Charles Clark, Henderson, 111., died in 1863. 

Gretzinger, Oscaloosa, Iowa, unknown. 

A Frenchman, name unknown, became insane from 
starvation, wandered from camp near the Sierra Nevada 
Mountains, captured by the Digger Indians, and was 
rescued by a United States surveying party fifteen years 

The following are to-day the sole survivors of the Jay- 
hawk party of 1849: 

John B. Colton, Kansas City, Mo. 

Alonzo G. Clay, Galesburg, 111. 

Luther A. Richards, Beaver City, Neb. 

Charles B. Mecum, Perry, Iowa. 

Urban P. Davidson, Derby, Wyo. 

John Groscup, Cahto, Cal. 

L. Dow Stevens, San Jose, Cal. 

Rev. J. W. Brier and Mrs. J. W. Brier, Lodi City, Cal. 

Harrison Frans, Baker City, Ore. 


Thomas Shannon, Los Gatos, Cal. 

The last reunion of the Jayhawkers was held at the home 
of Col. John B. Colton of Kansas City, Mo., just forty-four 
years after the arrival of the party upon the Pacific Slope. 

Of the eleven survivors there were but four able to be 
present, but the absent ones responded to their invitations 
with their photographs and letters of good will. 

Among the invited guests to meet these old heroes were 
Col. W. F. Cody (Buffalo Bill), Col. Frank Hatton of the 
Washington Post, General Van Vliet, Capt. E. D. Millet (an 
old ranger), and the writer, who wishes the remnant of the 
little hero band may yet live to enjoy a score more of such 
delightful meetings. 



About September i, 1848,011 my way from Independence, 
Mo., to Santa Fe, N. M., I met some of the soldiers of 
General Donaldson's regiment returning from the Mexi- 
can War on the Hornather or dry route, lying between the 
crossing of the Arkansas and Cimarron. It was about noon 
when we met. I saw them a considerable distance away. 
They were on horseback, and when they first appeared, the 
horses' legs looked to be from fifteen to eighteen feet long, 
and the body of the horses and the riders upon them pre- 
sented a remarkable picture, apparently extending into 
the air, rider and horse, forty-five to sixty feet high. 
This was my first experience with mirage, and it was a 
marvel to me. 

At the same time I could see beautiful clear lakes of 
water, apparently not more than a mile away, with all the 
surroundings in the way of bulrushes and other water vege- 
tation common to the margin of lakes. I would have been 
willing, at that time, to have staked almost anything upon 
the fact that I was looking upon lakes of pure water. This 
was my last experience of the kind until I was returning 
later on in the season, when one forenoon, as my train was 
on the march, I beheld just ahead the largest buffalo bull 
that I ever saw. I stopped the train to keep from fright- 
ening the animal away, took the gun out of my wagon, 
which was in front, and started off to get a shot at the im- 
mense fellow, but when I had walked about eighty yards 
in his direction, I discovered that it was nothing more nor 



less than a little coyote, which would not have weighed 
more than thirty pounds upon the scales. 

The person who imagines for a minute that there is noth- 
ing in the great desert wastes of the Southwest but sand, 
cacti, and villainous reptiles is deluded. It is one of the 
most common fallacies to write down these barren places 
as devoid of beauty and usefulness. The rhymester who 
made Robinson Crusoe exclaim/'Oh, solitude, where are the 
charms that sages have seen in thy face?" never stood on a 
sand-dune or a pile of volcanic rock in this Southwestern 
country just at the break of day or as the sun went down, 
else the rhyme would never have been made to jingle. 

To one who has never seen the famous mirages which 
Dame Nature paints with a lavish hand upon the horizon 
that bounds an Arizona desert, it is difficult to convey an 
intelligent portrait of these magnificent phenomena. And 
one who has looked upon these incomparable transforma- 
tion scenes, the Titanic paintings formed by nature's curi- 
ous slight-of-hand, can never forget them. They form the 
memories of a lifetime. 

Arizona is rich in mirage phenomena, which, owing to 
the peculiar dryness of the atmosphere, are more vivid and 
of longer duration than in other parts. The variety of 
subjects which from time to time have been presented like- 
wise gives them an unusual interest. Almost every one 
who has lived in the Territory any length of time, and one 
who has merely passed through, especially on the Southern 
Pacific Route, is familiar with the common water mirage 
which appears at divers places along the railroad. The 
most common section in which this phenomenon may be 
seen is between Tucson and Red Rock, and through the 
entire stretch of the Salton Basin from Ogilby to Indio. 

Here in the early morning or in the late afternoon, if 
the atmospheric conditions be right, lakes, river, and 


lagoons of water can be seen from the train windows. 
Ofttimes the shimmering surface is dotted with tiny islands, 
and the shadows of umbrageous foliage are plainly seen re- 
flected in the supposed water; yet an investigation shows 
nothing but long rods of sand-drifts or saline deposits. 

Animals as well as men are deceived by these freaks of 
the atmosphere. Many instances are recorded where 
whole bands of cattle have rushed from the grazing grounds 
across the hot parched plains in pursuit of the constantly 
retreating water phantom, until they perish from exhaus- 
tion, still in sight of running brooks and surging springs. 
Prior to the advent of the railroad through this region, 
when overland passengers passed by on the old Yuma road 
to San Diego, scores of adventurous spirits perished in 
chasing this illusive phantom. It is said that one entire 
company of soldiers was thus inveigled from the highway 
and perished to a man. 

One of the most interesting sights of this class is to be 
seen almost any time of the year in Mohave County, down 
in the region of the Big Sandy. Here for leagues upon 
leagues the ground is strewn with volcanic matter and 
basalt. It is one of the hottest portions of the continent, 
and except in the winter months it is almost unendurable 
by man or beast 

At a point were the main road from the settlements on 
the Colorado to Kingman turns toward the east, there are 
a number of volcanic buttes. At these buttes just before 
sunrise the famous cantilever bridge which spans the Col- 
orado River near the Needles, seventy miles distant, is 
plainly visible, together with the moving trains and crew. 
The train has the appearance of being perhaps an eighth of 
a mile distant, and every motion on board, the smoke, 
the escaping steam, are as natural and vivid as though 
not a hundred yards away. 


At this same point huge mountains are seen to lift them- 
selves up bodily and squat down again in the highway. 
Near these buttes, which are known as the Evil Ones, 
away back in the sixties a small force of cavalry was mak- 
ing its way from Fort Yuma to Fort Whipple. Owing to 
the extreme heat during the day, and as a further precau- 
tion against the hostile Indians, they were obliged to march 
at night, finding shelter in some mountain canon during 
the day. 

Shortly after daybreak, as they were preparing to go into 
camp, a whole legion of painted devils appeared on their 
front and hardly a quarter of a mile distant. The troops 
were thrown into confusion, and an order was immediately 
given to break ranks, and every man concealed himself 
behind the rocks, awaiting the attack which all felt must 
necessarily end in massacre. 

For some minutes the Indians were seen to parley and 
gesticulate with each other, but they gave no signs of hav- 
ing noticed their hereditary foe. The unhappy troopers, 
however, were not kept in suspense long. As the great red 
disk of the day began to mount slowly up over the adjoin- 
ing mountains, the redskins vanished as noiselessly and as 
suddenly as they had appeared. 

Used as they were to treachery, and fearing some uncanny 
trick, the soldiers maintained their position throughout the 
long hot day, nor did they attempt to move until late in 
the night. Some weeks later it was learned from captives 
that on that very morning a band of nearly one thousand 
Chinhuevas and Wallapais were lying in wait for this same 
command but ninety miles up the river, expecting the 
soldiers by that route. 

The most remarkable of all the mirages which have been 
witnessed in Arizona, at least by white man's eyes, was 
seen some years ago by an entire train-load of passengers 


on the Southern Pacific Railroad, near the small eating 
station of Maricopa, thirty-five miles below Phoenix. The 
train was due at the eating station at 6.30 a. m. 

At 6.15 o'clock it stopped at a small water-tank a few 
miles east. During this stop the trainmen and such of the 
passengers as were awake were amazed to see spring out 
of the ground on the sky a magnificent city. The build- 
ings were of the old Spanish and Morisco architecture, and 
were mostly adobe. Spacious court-yards lay before the 
astonished lookers-on, filled with all varieties of tropical 
fruits and vegetation. 

Men and women clothed in the picturesque garbs of Old 
Spain were seen hurrying along the narrow, irregular 
streets to the principal edifice, which had the appearance 
of a church. Had the astonished spectators been picked 
up bodily and landed in one of the provincial towns of 
Seville or Andalusia, they would not have seen a more 
dazzling array of stately senoras and laughing black-eyed 
muchachas of the land of forever manana. 

But the vision lasted much less time than it takes to 
write of the strange occurrence. It vanished as mysteri- 
ously as it came. Of course all of the hysterical women 
fainted. That is one of woman's prerogatives, in lieu of 
an explanation. 

This phenomenon remained unsolved for two or three 
years. About that time, after the mirage was seen, a young 
civil engineer who was among the witnesses was engaged 
on the Gulf coast survey from the headwaters below Yuma 
to Guaymas. In the course of his labors he found himself 
at the old Mexican pueblo of Altar, and there he saw the 
original of the picture in the sky seen three years before 
near Maricopa Station. The distance, as a buzzard flies, 
from Maricopa to Altar is more than a hundred miles. 

The native tribes are very superstitious concerning the 


mirage, and when one is once observed, that locality receives 
a wide berth in the future. 

In the secluded Jim-Jam Valley of the San Bernardino 
Mountains there are the most marvelous mirages known 
to the world. The wonderful mirages of the Mojave 
Desert have been talked about a great deal, and they are 
entitled to all the prominence they have had. But those of 
the Jim-Jam Valley are far more wonderful than these. 

It is called Jim-Jam Valley because of the strange things 
seen there, and I defy any man, however sound of mind he 
may be, to go in there and not think he has " got 'em " 
before he gets out. 

This valley is about twenty-five miles long by fifteen 
miles wide. It is uninhabited. It is bordered by the main 
San Bernardino range on the east, and by a spur of the 
Sierra Magdalenas on the west. There is no well-defined 
trail through the heart of it. The valley is a desert. The 
surrounding mountains are terribly serrated and cut up. 
The peaks are jagged. Altogether the surroundings are 
weird and forbidding. 

Leaving Fisk's ranch on the trail at the foot of the 
Sierra Magdalenas, you climb an easy grade to Dead 
Man's Pass, the entrance to the valley. 

Go in, and pretty soon you see lakes, and running rivers, 
and green borders, and flying water-fowl. Willows spring 
up here and there, and in the distance you see water- 

What you behold contrasts finely with the rugged mount- 
ains, and you are charmed with it, and go on thinking you 
have struck an earthly paradise. Indian camps appear in 
view, and little oarsmen propel fantastic crafts upon the 
waters. Advancing still farther, dimly outlined forms may 
be seen, and the pantomime reminds you of a strange hob- 
goblin dance. 


Sometimes a storm brews in the valley, and then the 
scene is all the more terrible. Forked lightning blazes 
about, and strange, uncouth animals, differing from any 
you have ever read about, are to be seen there. 

These phenomena are seen for a stretch of about fifteen 
miles, up and down the middle of the valley principally, 
and they have been viewed by a great many people. They 
can not understand why the forms of the mirage, if such it 
may be called, are so much more strange there than on the 
Mojave Desert. 

Everybody is in awe of the valley, and there are mighty 
few men, however nervy they may be ordinarily, who care 
to go there a second time. 



In the winter of 1858, while my partner, Mr. W. H. Rus- 
sell, John S. Jones, a citizen of Pettis County, Mo., and 
myself were all in Washington, D. C, which was about the 
time that the Pike's Peak excitement was at its highest 
pitch, Messrs. Jones and Russell conceived the idea (I do 
not know from which one it emanated), and concluded to 
put a line of daily coaches in operation between the Mis- 
souri River and Denver City, when Denver was but a few 
months old. They came to me with the proposition to 
take hold of the enterprise with them. 

I told them I could not consent to do so, for it would be 
impossible to make such a venture, at such an early period 
of development of this country, a paying institution, and 
urgently advised them to let the enterprise alone, for the. 
above stated reasons. They, however, paid no attention to 
my protest, and went forward with their plans, bought 
1,000 fine Kentucky mules and a sufficient number of Con- 
cord coaches to supply a daily coach each way between the 
Missouri River and Denver. At that time Leavenworth 
was the starting point on the Missouri. A few months 
later, however, they made Atchison the eastern terminus of 
the line and Denver the western. 

They bought their mules and coaches on credit, giving 
their notes, payable in ninety days; sent men out to estab- 
lish a station every ten to fifteen miles from Leavenworth 
due west, going up the Smoky Hill fork of the Kansas 
River, through the Territory of Kansas, and direct to Den- 



ver. The line was organized, stations built and put in run- 
ning shape in remarkably quick time. 

They made their daily trips in six days, traveling about 
one hundred miles every twenty-four hours. The first 
stage ran into Denver on May 17, 1859. It was looked 
upon as a great success, so far as putting the enterprise in 
good shape was concerned, but when the ninety days 
expired and the notes fell due they were unable to meet 
them. And in spite of my protests in the commencement 
of the organization as against having anything to do with 
it, it became necessary for Russell, Majors & Waddell to 
meet the obligation that Jones & Russell had entered into 
in organizing and putting the stock on the line. To save 
our partner we had to pay the debts of the concern and take 
the mules and coaches, or, in other words, all the parapher- 
nalia of the line, to secure us for the money we had 

The institution then having become the property of Rus- 
sell, Majors & Waddell, we continued to run it daily. A 
few months after that, we bought out the semi-monthly 
line of Hockaday & Liggett, that was running from St. 
Joseph, Mo., to Salt Lake City, thinking that by blending 
the two lines we might bring the business up to where it 
would pay expenses, if nothing more. 

This we failed in, for the lines, even after being blended, 
did not nearly meet expenses. Messrs. Hockaday & Lig- 
gett had a few stages, light, cheap vehicles, and but a few 
mules, and no stations along the route. They traveled the 
same team for several hundreds of miles before changing, 
stopping every few hours and turning them loose to graze, 
and then hitching them up again and going along. 

1 made a trip in the fall of 1858 from St. Joseph, Mo., 
to Bait Lake City in their coaches. It was twenty-one days 
from the time I left St. Joseph until I reached Salt Lake, 


traveling at short intervals day and night. As soon as we 
bought them out we built good stations and stables every 
ten to fifteen miles all the way from Missouri to Salt Lake, 
and supplied them with hay and grain for the horses and 
provisions for the men, so they would only have to drive a 
team from one station to the next, changing at every 

Instead of our schedule time being twenty-two days, as 
it was with Hockaday & Liggett, and running two per 
month, we ran a stage each way every day and made the 
schedule time ten days, a distance of 1,200 miles. We 
continued running this line from the summer of 1859 until 
March, 1862, when it fell into the hands of Ben Holliday. 
From the summer of 1859 to 1862 the line was run from 
Atchison to Fort Kearney and from Fort Kearney to Fort 
Laramie, up the Sweet Water route and South Pass, and on 
to Salt Lake City. 

This is the route also run by the Pony Express, each pony 
starting from St. Joseph instead of Atchison, Kan., from 
which the stages started. We had on this line about one 
thousand Kentucky mules and 300 smaller-sized mules to 
run on through the mountain portion of the line, and a 
large number of Concord coaches. It was as fine a line, 
considering the mules, coaches, drivers, and general outfit- 
ting, perhaps, as was ever organized in this or any other 
country, from the beginning. 

And it was very fortunate for the Government and the 
people that such a line was organized and in perfect run- 
ning condition on the middle route when the late war com- 
menced, as it would have been impossible to carry mails on 
the route previously patronized by the Government, which 
ran from San Francisco via Los Angeles, El Paso, Fort 
Smith, and St. Louis, for the Southern people would have 


interfered with it, and would not have allowed it to run 
through that portion of the country during the war. 

It turned out that Senator Gwin's original idea with 
reference to running a pony express from the Missouri 
River to Sacramento to prove the practicability of that 
route at all seasons of the year was well taken, and the 
stage line as well as the pony proved to be of vital impor- 
tance in carrying the mails and Government dispatches. 

It so transpired that the firm of Russell, Majors & Wad- 
dell had to pay the fiddler, or the entire expense of organ- 
izing both the stage line and the pony express, at a loss, as 
it turned out, of hundreds of thousands of dollars. After 
the United States mail was given to this line it became a 
paying institution, but it went into the hands of Hoiliday 
just before the first quarterly payment of $100,000 was 
made. The Government paid $800,000 a year for carrying 
the mails from San Francisco to Missouri, made in quar- 
terly payments. 

The part of the line that Russell, Majors & Waddell 
handled received $400,000, and Butterfield & Co. received 
$400,000 for carrying the mails from Salt Lake to Cali- 
fornia. During the war there was a vast amount of busi- 
ness, both in express and passenger traveling, and it was the 
only available practicable line of communication between 
California and the States east of the Rocky Mountains. 



During the winter of 1858-59 the public generally, 
throughout the United States, began to give publicity to a 
great gold discovery reported to have been made in the 
Pike's Peak region of the Rocky Mountains. 

From week to week, as time passed, more extended 
accounts were given, until the reports became fabulous. 

The discovery was reported to have been made in Cherry 
Creek, at or near its junction with the South Platte River, 
and one of the newspapers at the time, published in Cleve- 
land, Ohio, came out, giving a cut which was claimed to be 
a map of the country. Pike's Peak was given as the cen- 
tral figure. The South Fork of the Platte River was repre- 
sented as flowing out from the mountain near its base, 
and Cherry Creek as coming out of a gorge in the mount- 
ain's side, and forming a junction with the Platte in the 
low lands, at which point Denver was designated. 

Reports went so far as to state that gold was visible in 
the sands of the creek-bed, and that the banks would pay 
from grass roots to bed rock. 

People became wild with excitement, and a stampede to 
Pike's Peak appeared inevitable. 

The great question with the excited people was as to 
the shortest, cheapest, and quickest way to get to the 
country, with little thought of personal safety or comfort, 
or as to how they should get back in the event of failure. 
But the problem was soon believed to have been solved to 
the satisfaction of all concerned. 



A brilliant idea took possession of the fertile brain of an 
energetic Buckeye citizen, and a plan was conceived and to 
an extent put in execution. A canal-boat which had been 
converted into a steam tug was secured, not only for the 
purpose of transporting the multitudes from Cleveland to 
Denver, but to transport the millions of treasures back to 
civilization, or, as it was then put, " to God's country." 
Passengers were advertised for at $100 per head; the route 
given as follows: Prom Cleveland, Ohio, via the lake to 
Chicago, thence via Illinois Canal and River to the Missis- 
sippi River, then to the mouth of the Missouri River and 
up the Missouri to the mouth of the Platte River, and, 
thence up the Platte to Denver, and it was with pride that 
this boat was advertised as the first to form a line of 
steamers to regularly navigate the last named stream. 

Of course this trip was never made, for in fact, at certain 
seasons of the year, it would be difficult to float a two-inch 
plank down the river from Denver to the Missouri, and yet 
this is but illustrative of the hundreds of visionary, crude 
and novel plans conceived and adopted by the thousands 
of so-called Pike's Peakers who swarmed the plains between 
Denver and the border during the early part of 1859. 

Having caught the fever, and there being no remedy for 
the disease equal to the gold hunter's experience, horses 
and wagon were secured and, with traveling companions, 
the trip was made by land. Many novel experiences to 
the participants occurred during that trip. 

At Leavenworth one of my companions concluded to 
economize, which he did by piloting six yoke of oxen 
across the plains for me. He drove into Denver in the 
morning and drove out of it in the evening of the same 
day, fully convinced (as he himself stated) that all reports 
of the country were either humbugs or greatly exagger- 
ated, and that he had seen and knew all that was worth 


seeing and knowing of that land. I suggested the advisa- 
bility of further investigation before moving on, but not 
being favorable to delay, and suiting himself to his means, 
he secured an ox and cart that had been brought in from 
the Red River of the North, and loading it with all nec- 
essary supplies headed for Denver, with a determination 
so aptly and forcibly expressed in the usual motto, "Pike's 
Peak or bust." All went well until he reached the Little 
Blue River in Kansas, when he "busted," or at least the 
cart did, and the result was the location of a ranch on that 
stream and an end to his westward career. 

Thus Kansas is largely indebted for her early and rapid 
settlement to the discovery of gold in Colorado, and to the 
misfortunes of many of the Pike's Peakers who, for some 
cause, failed to reach the end desired, and who were thus 
compelled to stop and become settlers of that now great 

Shortly before the time of which I write, June, 1859, Hor- 
ace Greeley passed through Leavenworth en route for Den- 
ver, and thousands of people were to be found in every prin- 
cipal town and city, from St. Louis to Council Bluffs (there 
was no Omaha at that time), who were awaiting his report, 
which was daily expected, and for once, at least, the New 
York Tribune was in demand on the borders. I may say 
here that Horace Greeley was dead-headed through to Cali- 

In the early part of July came a favorable report in the 
Tribune, and at that time a shipment of gold was made 
from Denver and put on exhibition in one of the banks at 

Thus new life was given to the immigration movement, 
and soon the towns along the border were largely relieved 
of their floating population, and the plains at once became 
alive with a moving, struggling mass of humanity, moving 


westward in the mad rush for the gold-fields of Pike's 

Among my friends an association was formed and the 
following party organized, viz.: Alfred H. Miles and his 
wife, their son George T., and two daughters, Fannie D. 
and Emma C. Miles, with William McLelland and P. A. 

They outfitted with two wagons, four yoke of oxen, two 
saddle-mules, one cow, and all supplies presumed to be 
sufficient for at least one year. On the first day of August, 
1S59, they moved out from Leavenworth, happy and full of 
" great expectations " for the future. Forty-nine days were 
spent in making the drive, and then they landed in Denver 
on the eighteenth day of the following month. And here 
let me say, that I believe this party of seven proved an 
exception to the rule, in this, that every member of it be- 
came a permanent settler, and for the last thirty-three 
years they have been actively connected with, and identi- 
fied in, the various departments of life and business, both 
public and private. 

All are yet living and residents of the State, except Mrs. 
Miles, who recently passed to a higher life, respected and 
loved by all who knew her; and I here venture the opinion 
that no other party of emigrants in this country, of equal 
number, can show a better record. 

Many novel events occurred on this trip also, but to 
mention all the new and novel experiences incident to an 
expedition of that kind would require more than the 
allotted space for a chapter. I will, therefore, confine the 
account to one incident alone which will make manifest the 
radical changes that are sometimes wrought in the individ- 
ual lives of people, in a sometimes radically short space of 
time. Two of the ladies of the party before mentioned 
arrived in Leavenworth about one month previous to their 


departure on this trip. They were just graduated from a 
three years' course of study in a female seminary, and in 
thirty days from that time they were transported from their 
boarding-school surroundings to the wilds of the Great 
American Desert, and after passing into the timberless 
portion of the great desert, the great query with them was 
as to how and where they were to secure fuel necessary for 
culinary purposes; and when informed that it would be 
necessary to gather and use buffalo chips for that purpose, 
their incredulity became manifest, and their curiosity was 
rather increased than satisfied. When called upon to go, 
gunny-sack in hand, out from the line of travel to gather 
the necessary fuel, it was difficult to persuade them they 
were not being made the victims of a joke; but when finally 
led into the field of " chips," and the discovery made of 
their character, the expression upon the face of each would 
have been a delight to an artist and amusing to the 
beholder; and to say that the distance between the chip- 
field and the camp was covered by them in the time rarely, 
if ever, covered by the native antelope, is to speak without 

As before stated, all of the seven members of this party, 
on their arrival in Denver, became residents and actively 
identified in the various departments of life and business, 
and to each and every one there is no spot on the face of 
this globe that is quite so good, so grand, and so dear as 
the Centennial State, of which Denver is the center of their 



Over thirty-two years ago, when a bachelor occupied the 
"President's mansion at Washington, and there was no Pacific 
Railroad and no transcontinental telegraph line in opera- 
tion over the Great American Desert of the old school- 
books, and the wild Indian was lord of the manor — a true 
native American sovereign — St. Joseph, Mo., was the west- 
ern terminus of railway transportation. Beyond that point 
the traveler bound for the regions of the Occident had his 
choice of a stage-coach, an ox-team, a pack-mule, or some 
equally stirring method of reaching San Francisco. 

Just at that interesting period in our history — when the 
gold and silver excitement, and other local advantages of 
the Pacific Coast, had concentrated an enterprising popula- 
tion and business at San Francisco and the adjacent dis- 
tricts — the difficulty of communication with the East was 
greatly deplored, and the rapid overland mail service 
became an object of general solicitude. In the year 1859 
several magnates in Wall Street formed a formidable lobby 
at Washington in the interests of an overland mail route to 
California, and asked Congress for a subsidy for carrying 
the mails overland for one year between New York and San 

The distance was 1,950 miles. Mr. Russell proposed to 
cover this distance with a mail line between St. Joseph, 
Mo., and San Francisco, that would deliver letters at either 
end of the route within ten days. 

Five hundred of the fleetest horses to be procured were 



immediately purchased, and the services of over two hun- 
dred competent men were secured. Eighty of these men 
were selected for express riders. Light-weights were 
deemed the most eligible for the purpose; the lighter the 
man the better for the horse, as some portions of the route 
had to be traversed at a speed of twenty miles an hour. 
Relays were established at stations, the distance between 
which was, in each instance, determined by the character of 
the country. 

These stations dotted a wild, uninhabited expanse of 
country 2,000 miles wide, infested with road-agents and 
warlike Indians, who roamed in formidable hunting parties, 
ready to sacrifice human life with as little unconcern as 
they would slaughter a buffalo. The Pony Express, there- 
fore, was not only an important, but a daring and romantic 
enterprise. At each station a sufficient number of horses 
were kept, and at every third station the thin, wiry, and 
hardy pony-riders held themselves in readiness to press for- 
ward with the mails. These were filled with important 
business letters and press dispatches from Eastern cities 
and San Francisco, printed upon tissue paper, and thus 
especially adapted by their weight for this mode of trans- 

The schedule time for the trip was fixed at ten days. In 
this manner they supplied the place of the electric tele- 
graph and the lightning express train of the gigantic rail- 
way enterprise that subsequently superseded it. 

The men were faithful, daring fellows, and their service 
was full of novelty and adventure. The facility and energy 
with which they journeyed was a marvel. The news of 
Abraham Lincoln's election was carried through from St. 
Joseph to Denver, Colo., 665 miles, in two days and twenty- 
one hours, the last ten miles having been covered in thirty- 
one minutes. The last route on the occasion was traversed 


by Robert H. Haslam, better known as "Pony Bob," who 
carried the news 120 miles in eight hours and ten minutes, 
riding from Smith's Creek to Fort Churchill, on the Carson 
River, Nevada, the first telegraph station on the Pacific 

On another occasion, it is recorded, one of these riders 
journeyed a single stretch of 300 miles — the other men 
who should have relieved him being either disabled or 
indisposed — and reached the terminal station on schedule 

The distance between relay riders' stations varied from 
sixty-five to one hundred miles, and often more. The 
weight to be carried by each was fixed at ten pounds or 
under, and the charge for transportation was $5 in gold for 
each half of an ounce. The entire distance between New 
York City and San Francisco occupied but fourteen days. 
The riders received from $120 to $125 per month for their 
arduous services. The pony express enterprise continued 
for about two years, at the end of which time telegraph 
service between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans was estab- 
lished. Few men remember those days of excitement and 
interest. The danger surrounding the riders can not be 
told. Not only were they remarkable for lightness of 
weight and energy, but their service required continual vig- 
ilance, bravery, and agility. Among their number were 
skillful guides, scouts, and couriers, accustomed to advent- 
ures and hardships on the plains — men of strong wills and 
wonderful powers of endurance. The horses were mostly 
half-breed California mustangs, as alert and energetic as 
their riders, and their part in the service — sure-footed and 
fleet — was invaluable. Only two minutes were allowed at 
stations for changing mails and horses. Everybody was on 
the qui vive. The adventures with which the service was 
rife are numerous and excitinsr. 


The day of the first start, the 3d of April, i860, at 
noon, Harry Roff, mounted on a spirited half-breed broncho, 
started from Sacramento on his perilous ride, and covered 
the first twenty miles, including one change, in fifty-nine 
minutes. On reaching Folson, he changed again and 
started for Placerville, at the foot of the Sierra Nevada 
Mountain, fifty-five miles distant. There he connected with 
"Boston," who took the route to Friday's Station, crossing 
the eastern summit of the Sierra Nevada. Sam Hamilton 
next fell into- line, and pursued his way to Genoa, Carson 
City, Dayton, Reed's Station, and Fort Churchill— seventy- 
five miles. The entire run, 185 miles, was made in fifteen 
hours and twenty minutes, and included the crossing of the 
western summits of the Sierras, through thirty feet of 
snow. This seems almost impossible, and would have been, 
had not pack trains of mules and horses kept the trail 
open. Here "Pony Bob" — Robert H. Haslam — took the 
road from Fort Churchill to Smith's Creek, 120 miles dis- 
tant, through a hostile Indian country. From this point 
Jay G. Kelley rode from Smith's Creek to Ruby Valley, 
Utah, 116 miles; from Ruby Valley to Deep Creek, H. 
Richardson, 105 miles; from Deep Creek to Rush Valley, 
old Camp Floyd, eighty miles; from Camp Floyd to Salt 
Lake City, fifty miles; George Thacher the last end. This 
ended the Western Division, under the management of 
Bolivar Roberts, now in Salt Lake City. 

Among the most noted and daring riders of the Pony 
Express was Hon. William F. Cody, better known as Buf- 
falo Bill, whose reputation is now established the world 
over. While engaged in the express service, his route lay 
between Red Buttes and Three Crossings, a distance of 116 
miles. It was a most dangerous, long, and lonely trail, 
including the perilous crossing of the North Platte River, 
one-half mile wide, and though generally shallow, in some- 


places twelve feet deep, often much swollen and turbulent. 
An average of fifteen miles an hour had to be made, 
including changes of horses, detours for safety, and time 
for meals. Once, upon reaching Three Crossings, he found 
that the rider on the next division, who had a route of 
seventy-six miles, had been killed during the night before, 
and he was called on to make the extra trip until another 
rider could be employed. This was a request the compli- 
ance with which would involve the most taxing labors and 
an endurance few persons are capable of; nevertheless, 
young Cody was promptly on hand for the additional jour- 
ney, and reached Rocky Ridge, the limit of the second 
route, on time. This round trip of 384 miles was made 
without a stop, except for meals and to change horses, and 
every station on the route was entered on time. This is 
one of the longest and best ridden pony express journeys 
ever made. 

Pony Bob also had a series of stirring adventures while 
performing his great equestrian feat, which he thus 

"About eight months after the Pony Express commenced 
operations, the Piute war began in Nevada, and as no reg- 
ular troops were then at hand, a volunteer corps, raised in 
California, with Col. Jack Hayes and Henry Meredith — the 
latter being killed in the first battle at Plymouth Lake — 
in command, came over the mountains to defend the whites. 
Virginia City, Nev., then the principal point of interest, and 
hourly expecting an attack from the hostile Indians, was only 
in its infancy. A stone hotel on C Street was in course of 
erection, and had reached an elevation of two stories. This 
was hastily transformed into a fort for the protection of 
the women and children. 

" From the city the signal fires of the Indians could be 
seen on every mountain peak, and all available men and 


horses were pressed into service to repel the impending 
assault of the savages. When I reached Reed's Station, on 
the Carson River, I found no change of horses, as all those 
at the station had been seized by the whites to take part in 
the approaching battle. I fed the animal that I rode, and 
started for the next station, called Buckland's, afterward 
known as Fort Churchill, fifteen miles farther down the 
river. This point was to have been the termination of my 
journey (as I had been changed from my old route to this 


one, in which I had had many narrow escapes and been twice 
wounded by Indians), as I had ridden seventy-five miles, 
but to my great astonishment, the other rider refused to go 
on. The superintendent, W. C. Marley, was at the station, 
but all his persuasion could not prevail on the rider, John- 
nie Richardson, to take the road. Turning then to me, 
Marley said: 

'"Bob, I will give you $50 if you make this ride.' 

"I replied: 

'" I will go you once.' 


"Within ten minutes, when I had adjusted my Spencer 
rifle — a seven-shooter — and my Colt's revolver, with two 
cylinders ready for use in case of an emergency, I started. 
From the station onward was a lonely and dangerous ride 
of thirty-five miles, without a change, to the Sink of the 
Carson. I arrived there all right, however, and pushed on 
to Sand's Spring, through an alkali bottom and sand-hills, 
thirty miles farther, without a drop of water all along the 
route. At Sand's Springs I changed horses, and continued 
on to Cold Springs, a distance of thirty-seven miles. 
Another change, and a ride of thirty miles more, brought 
me to Smith's Creek. Here I was relieved by J. G. Kelley. 
I had ridden 185 miles, stopping only to eat and change 

"After remaining at Smith's Creek about nine hours, 
I started to retrace my journey with the return express. 
When I arrived at Cold Springs, to my horror I found that 
the station had been attacked by Indians, and the keeper 
killed and all the horses taken away. What course to pur- 
sue I decided in a moment — I would go on. I watered my 
horse — having ridden him thirty miles on time, he was pretty 
tired — and started for Sand Springs, thirty-seven miles 
away. It was growing dark, and my road lay through 
heavy sage-brush, high enough in some places to conceal a 
horse. I kept a bright lookout, and closely watched every 
motion of my poor horse's ears, which is a signal for danger 
in an Indian country. I was prepared for a fight, but the 
stillness of the night and the howling of the wolves and 
coyotes made cold chills run through me at times, but I 
reached Sand Springs in safety and reported what had 
happened. Before leaving I advised the station-keeper to 
come with me to the Sink of the Carson, for I was sure the 
Indians would be upon him the next day. He took my 
advice, and so probably saved his life, for the following 


morning Smith's Creek was attacked. The whites, however, 
were well protected in the shelter of a stone house, from 
which they fought the Indians for four days. At the end 
of that time they were relieved by the appearance of about 
fifty volunteers from Cold Springs. These men reported 
that they had buried John Williams, the brave station- 
keeper of that station, but not before he had been nearly 
devoured by wolves. 

"When I arrived at the Sink of the Carson, I found the 
station men badly frightened, for they had seen some fifty 
warriors, decked out in their war-paint and reconnoitering 
the station. There were fifteen white men here, well armed 
and ready for a fight. The station was built of adobe, and 
was large enough for the men and ten or fifteen horses, 
with a fine spring of water within ten feet of it. I rested here 
an hour, and after dark started for Buckland's, where I 
arrived without a mishap and only three and a half hours 
behind the schedule time. I found Mr. Marley at Buckland's, 
and when I related to him the story of the Cold Springs trag- 
edy and my success, he raised his previous offer of $50 for 
my ride to $100. I was rather tired, but the excitement of 
the trip had braced me up to withstand the fatigue of the 
journey. After the rest of one and one-half hours, I pro- 
ceeded over my own route, from Buckland's to Friday's 
Station, crossing the western summit of the Sierra Nevada. 
I had traveled 380 miles within a few hours of schedule 
time, and surrounded by perils on every hand." 

After the " Overland Pony Express " was discontinued, 
" Pony Bob " was employed by Wells, Fargo & Co., as a 
pony express rider, in the prosecution of their transporta- 
tion business. His route was between Virginia City, Nev., 
and Friday's Station, and return, about one hundred miles, 
every twenty-four hours, schedule time ten hours. This 
engagement continued for more than a year; but as the 


Union Pacific Railway gradually extended its line and 
operations, the pony express business as gradually dimin- 
ished. Finally the track was completed to Reno, Nev., 
twenty-three miles from Virginia City, and over this route 
" Pony Bob " rode for over six months, making the run 
every day, with fifteen horses, inside of one hour. When 
the telegraph line was completed, the pony express over 
this route was withdrawn, and " Pony Bob " was sent to 
Idaho, to ride the company's express route of ioo miles, 
with one horse, from Queen's River to the Owhyee River. 
He was at the former station when Major McDermott was 
killed, at the breaking out of the Modoc war. On one of 
his rides he passed the remains of ninety Chinamen who 
had been killed by the Indians, only one escaping to tell 
the tale, and whose bodies lay bleaching in the sun for a 
distance of more than ten miles from the mouth of Ive's 
Canon to Crooked Creek. This was " Pony Bob's " last 
experience as a pony express rider. His successor, Sye 
Macaulas, was killed the first trip he tried to make. Bob 
bought a Flathead Indian pony at Boise City, Idaho, and 
started for Salt Lake City, 400 miles away, where his 
brother-in-law, Joshua Hosmer, was United States Marshal. 
Fere " Pony Bob " was appointed a deputy, but not liking 
the business, was again employed by Theodore Tracy — 
Wells-Fargo's agent — as first messenger from that city to 
Denver after Ben Holliday had sold out to Wells, Fargo & 
Co. — a distance of 720 miles by stage — which position 
Bob filled a long time. 

" Pony Bob " is now a resident of Chicago, where he is 
engaged in business. 



During the winter of 1859, Mr. W. H. Russell, of our 
firm, while in Washington, D. C, met and became 
acquainted with Senator Gwin of California. The Senator 
was very anxious to establish a line of communication 
between California and the States east of the Rocky Mount- 
ains, which would be more direct than that known as the 
Butterfield route, running at that time from San Francisco 
via Los Angeles, Cal.; thence across the Colorado River 
and up the valley of the Gila; thence via El Paso and 
through Texas, crossing the Arkansas River at Fort Gib- 
son, and thence to St. Louis, Mo. 

This route, the Senator claimed, was entirely too long; 
that the requirements of California demanded a more direct 
route, which would make quicker passage than could be 
made on such a circuitous route as the Butterfield line. 

Knowing that Russell, Majors & Waddell were running 
a daily stage between the Missouri River and Salt Lake 
City, and that they were also heavily engaged in the trans- 
portation of Government stores on the same line, he asked 
Mr. Russell if his company could not be induced to start a 
pony express, to run over its stage line to Salt Lake City, 
and from thence to Sacramento; his object being to test 
the practicability of crossing the Sierra Nevadas, as well 
as the Rocky Mountains, with a daily line of communica- 

After various consultations between these gentlemen, 
from time to time, the Senator urging the great necessity 



of such an experiment, Mr. Russell consented to take hold 
of the enterprise, provided he could get his partners, Mr. 
Waddell and myself, to join him. 

With this understanding, he left Washington and came 
west to Fort Leavenworth, Kan., to consult us. After he 
explained the object of the enterprise, and we had well 
considered it, we both decided that it could not be made to 
pay expenses. This decision threw quite a. damper upon 
the ardor of Mr. Russell, and he strenuously insisted we 
should stand by him, as he had committed himself to Sena- 
tor Gwin before leaving Washington, assuring him he 
could get his partners to join him, and that he might rely 
on the project being carried through, and saying it would 
be very humiliating to his pride to return to Washington 
and be compelled to say the scheme had fallen through 
from lack of his partners' confidence. 

He urged us to reconsider, stating the importance 
attached to such an undertaking, and relating the facts 
Senator Gwin had laid before him, which were that all his 
attempts to get a direct thoroughfare opened between the 
State of California and the Eastern States had proved 
abortive, for the reason that when the question of estab- 
lishing a permanent central route came up, his colleagues, 
or fellow senators, raised the question of the impassability 
of the mountains on such a route during the winter 
months; that the members from the Northern States were 
opposed to giving the whole prestige of such a thorough- 
fare to the extreme southern route; that this being the 
case, it had actually become a necessity to demonstrate, if 
it were possible to do so, that a central or middle route 
could be made practicable during the winter as well as 
summer months. That as soon as we demonstrated the 
feasibility of such a scheme he (Senator Gwin) would use 
all his influence with Congress to get a subsidy to help pay 


the expenses of such a line on the thirty-ninth to forty-first 
parallel of latitude, which would be central between the 
extreme north and south; that he could not ask for the 
subsidy at the start with any hope of success, as the public 
mind had already accepted the idea that such a route open 
at all seasons of the year was an impossibility; that as 
soon as we proved to the contrary, he would come to our 
aid with a subsidy. 

After listening to all Mr. Russell had to say upon the 
subject, we concluded to sustain him in the undertaking, 
and immediately went to work to organize what has since 
been known as " The Pony Express." 

As above stated, we were already running a daily stage 
between the Missouri River and Salt Lake City, and along 
this line stations were located every ten or twelve miles, 
which we utilized for the Pony Express, but were obliged 
to build stations between Salt Lake City and Sacramento, 

Within sixty days or thereabouts from the time we 
agreed to undertake the enterprise, we were ready to start 
ponies, one from St. Joseph, Mo., and the other from Sac- 
ramento, Cal., on the same day. At that time there was 
telegraphic communication between the East and St. 
Joseph, Mo., and between San Francisco and Sacra- 
mento, Cal. 

The quickest time that had ever been made with any 
message between San Francisco and New York, over the 
Butterfield line, which was the southern route, was twenty- 
one days. Our Pony Express shortened the time to ten 
days, which was our schedule time, without a single failure, 
being a difference of eleven days. 

To do the work of the Pony Express required between 
four hundred and five hundred horses, about one hundred 
ami ninety stations, two hundred men for station-keepers, 


and eighty riders; riders made an average ride of thirty- 
three and one-third miles. In doing this each man rode three 
ponies on his part of the route; some of the riders, how- 
ever, rode much greater distances in times of emergency. 

The Pony Express carried messages written on tissue 
paper, weighing one-half ounce, a charge of $5 being 
made for each dispatch carried. 

As anticipated, the amount of business transacted over 
this line was not sufficient to pay one-tenth of the expenses, 
to say nothing about the amount of capital invested. In 
this, however, we were not disappointed, for we knew, as 
stated in the outset, that it could not be made a paying 
institution, and was undertaken solely to prove that the 
route over which it ran could be made a permanent 
thoroughfare for travel at all seasons of the year, proving, 
as far as the paramount object was concerned, a complete 

Two important events transpired during the term of the 
Pony's existence; one was the carrying of President Bu- 
chanan's last message to Congress, in December, i860, 
from the Missouri River to Sacramento, a distance of two 
thousand miles, in eight days and some hours. The other 
was the carrying of President Lincoln's inaugural address 
of March 4, 1861, over the same route in seven days and, I 
think, seventeen hours, being the quickest time, taking the 
distance into consideration, on record in this or any other 
country, as far as I know. 

One of the most remarkable feats ever accomplished 
was made by F. X. Aubery, who traveled the distance of 
800 miles, between Santa Fe, N. M., and Independence, 
Mo., in five days and thirteen hours. This ride, in my 
opinion, in one respect was the most remarkable one ever 
made by any man. The entire distance was ridden with- 
out stopping to rest, and having a change of horses only 


once iii every one hundred or two hundred miles. He kept 
a lead horse by his side most of the time, so that when the 
one he was riding gave out entirely, he changed the saddle 
to the extra horse, left the horse he had been riding and 
went on again at full speed. 

At the time he made this ride, in much of the territory 
he passed through he was liable to meet hostile Indians, 
so that his adventure was daring in more ways than one. 
In the first place, the man who attempted to ride 800 
miles in the time he did took his life in his hands. There 
is perhaps not one man in a million who could have lived 
to finish such a journey. 

Mr. Aubery was a Canadian Frenchman, of low stature, 
short limbs, built, to use a homely simile, like a jack-screw, 
and was in the very zenith of his manhood, full of pluck 
and daring. 

It was said he made this ride upon a bet of $1,000 that 
he could cover the distance in eight days. 

One year previous to this, in 1852, he made a bet he 
could do the same distance in ten days. The result was 
he traveled it in a little over eight days, hence his bet he 
could make the ride in 1853 in eight days, the result of that 
trip showing he consumed little more than half that time. 

I was well acquainted with and did considerable business 
with Aubery during his years of freighting. I met him 
when he was making his famous ride, at a point on the 
Santa Fe Road called Rabbit Ear. He passed my train 
at a ful! gallop without asking a single question as to the 
danger of Indians ahead of him. 

After his business between St. Louis and Santa Fe 
ceased, his love for adventure and his daring enterprise 
prompted him to make a trip from New Mexico to Califor- 
nia with sheep, which he disposed of at good prices, and 
returned to New Mexico. 


Immediately upon his return he met a friend, a Major 
Weightman of the United States Army, who was a great 
admirer of his pluck and daring. Weightman was at that 
time editor of a small paper called the Santa Fe Herald. 
At their meeting, as was the custom of the time, they called 
for drink's. Their glasses were filled and they were ready to 
drink, when Aubery asked Weightman why he had published 
a damned lie about his trip to California. Instead of tak- 
ing his drink, Weightman tossed the contents of his glass 
in Aubery's face. Aubery made a motion to draw his pis- 
tol and shoot, when Weightman, knowing the danger, drew 
his knife and stabbed Aubery through the heart, from which 
blow he dropped dead upon the floor. 

The whole affair was enacted in one or two seconds. 
From the time they started to take a friendly drink till 
Aubery was lying dead on the floor less time elapsed than 
it takes to tell the story. 

This tragedy was the result of rash words hastily spoken, 
and proves that friends, as well as enemies, should be care- 
ful and considerate in the language they use toward others. 

In the spring of i860 Bolivar Roberts, superintendent 
of the Western Division of the Pony Express, came to Car- 
son City, Nev., which was then in St. Mary's County, 
Utah, to engage riders and station men for a pony express 
route about to be established across the great plains by 
Russell, Majors & Waddell. In a few days fifty or sixty 
men were engaged, and started out across the Great Amer- 
ican Desert to establish stations, etc. Among that num- 
ber the writer can recall to memory the following: Bob 
Haslam ("Pony Bob"), Jay G. Kelley, Sam Gilson, Jim 
Gilson, Jim McNaughton, Bill McNaughton, Jose Zowgaltz, 
Mike Kelley, Jimmy Buckton, and "Irish Tom." At present 
"Pony Bob" is living on "the fat of the land" in Chicago. 
Sam and Jim Gilson are mining in Utah, and all the old 



"Pony" boys will rejoice to know they are now millionaires. 
The new mineral, gilsonite, was discovered by Sam Gilson. 
Mike Kelley is mining in Austin, Nev.; Jimmy Bucklin, 
"Black Sam," and the McNaughton boys are dead. Will- 
iam Carr was hanged in Carson City, for the murder of Ber- 
nard Cherry, his unfortunate death being the culmination 
of a quarrel begun months before, at Smith Creek Station. 
His was the first legal hanging in the Territory, the sen- 
tence being passed by Judge Cradlebaugh. 

J. G. Kelley has had a varied experience, and is now 
fifty-four years of age, an eminent mining engineer and 
mineralogist, residing in Denver, Colo. In recalling 
many reminiscences of the plains in the early days, I will let 
him tell the story in his own language: 

"Yes," he said, "I was a pony express rider in i860, and 
went out with Bol Roberts (one of the best men that ever 
lived), and I tell you it was no picnic. No amount of money 
could tempt me to repeat my experience of those days. To 
begin with, we had to build willow roads (corduroy fash- 
ion) across many places along the Carson River, carrying 
bundles of willows two and three hundred yards in our 
arms, while the mosquitoes were so thick it was difficult to 
discern whether the man was white or black, so thickly 
were they piled on his neck, face, and hands. 

"Arriving at the Sink of the Carson River, we began the 
erection of a fort to protect us from the Indians. As there 
were no rocks or logs in that vicinity, the fort was built of 
adobes, made from the mud on the shores of the lake. To 
mix this mud and get it the proper consistency to mold 
into adobes (dried brick), we tramped around all day in it 
in our bare feet. This we did for a week or more, and the 
mud being strongly impregnated with alkali (carbonate of 
soda), you can imagine the condition of our feet. They 
were much swollen, and resembled hams. Before that time 


I wore No. 6 boots, but ever since then No. 9s fit me 

" This may, in a measure, account for Bob Haslam's 
selection of a residence in Chicago, as he helped us make 
the adobes, and the size of his feet would thereafter be less 
noticeable there than elsewhere. 

"We next built a fort of stone at Sand Springs, twenty- 
five miles from Carson Lake, and another at Cold Springs, 
thirty-seven miles east of Sand Springs. 

" At the latter station I was assigned to duty as assist- 
ant station-keeper, under Jim McNaughton. The war 
against the Piute Indians was then at its height, and we 
were in the middle of the Piute country, which made it 
necessary for us to keep a standing guard night and day. 
The Indians were often seen skulking around, but none of 
them ever came near enough for us to get a shot at them, 
till one dark night, when I was on guard, I noticed one of 
our horses prick up his ears and stare. I looked in the 
direction indicated and saw an Indian's head projecting 
above the wall. 

" My instructions were to shoot if I saw an Indian within 
shooting distance, as that would wake the boys quicker 
than anything else; so I fired and missed my man. 

"Later on we saw the Indian camp-fires on the mountain, 
and in the morning saw many tracks. They evidently 
intended to stampede our horses, and if necessary kill us. 
The next day one of our riders, a Mexican, rode into camp 
with a bullet hole through him from the left to the right 
side, having been shot by Indians while coming down 
Edwards Creek, in the Quakcnasp bottom. This he told 
us as we assisted him off his horse. He was tenderly cared 
for, but died before surgical aid could reach him. 

" As I was the lightest man at the station, I was ordered 
to take the Mexican's place on the route. My weight was 


then ioo pounds, while now I weigh 230. Two days 
after taking the route, on my return trip, I had to ride 
through the forest of quakenasp trees where the Mexican 
had been shot. A trail had been cut through these little 
trees, just wide enough to allow horse and rider to pass. 
As the road was crooked and the branches came together 
from either side, just above my head when mounted, it was 
impossible to see ahead more than ten or fifteen yards, and 
it was two miles through the forest. 

" I expected to have trouble, and prepared for it by 
dropping my bridle reins on the neck of the horse, put my 
Sharp's rifle at full cock, kept both spurs into the flanks, 
and he went through that forest like a ' streak of greased 

"At the top of the hill I dismounted to rest my horse, 
and looking back, saw the bushes moving in several places. 
As there were no cattle or game in that vicinity, I knew 
the movements must be caused by Indians, and was more 
positive of it when, after firing several shots at the spot 
where I saw the bushes moving, all agitation ceased. 
Several days after that, two United States soldiers, who 
were on their way to their command, were shot and killed 
from the ambush of those bushes, and stripped of their 
clothing, by the red devils. 

" One of my rides was the longest on the route. I refer 
to the road between Cold Springs and Sand Springs, thirty- 
seven miles, and not a drop of water. It was on this ride 
that I made a trip which possibly gave to our company the 
contract for carrying the mail by stage-coach across the 
plains, a contract that was largely subsidized by Congress. 

"One day I trotted into Sand Springs covered with dust 
and perspiration. Before reaching the station I saw a num- 
ber of men running toward me, all carrying rifles, and as I 
supposed they took me for an Indian, I stopped and 


threw up my hands. It seemed they had a spy-glass in 
camp, and recognizing me had come to the conclusion I 
was being run in by Piutes and were coming to my rescue. 

" Bob Haslam was at the station, and in less than one 
minute relieved me of my mail-pouch and was flying west- 
ward over the plains. Some of the boys had several fights 
with Indians, but they did not trouble us as much as we 
expected; personally I only met them once face to face. I 
was rounding a bend in the mountains, and before 1 knew 
it, was in a camp of Piute Indians. Buffalo Jim, the chief, 
came toward me alone. He spoke good English, and when 
within ten yards of me I told him to stop, which he did, and 
told me he wanted 'tobac' (tobacco). I gave him half I 
had, but the old fellow wanted it all, and I finally refused to 
give him any more; he then made another step toward me, 
saying that he wanted to look at my gun. I pulled the gun 
out of the saddle-hock and again told him to stop. He 
evidently saw that I meant business, for, with a wave of his 
hand, he said: 'All right, you pooty good boy; you go.' 
I did not need a second order, and quickly as possible rode 
out of their presence, looking back, however, as long as 
they were in sight, and keeping my rifle handy. 

" As I look back on those times I often wonder that we 
were not all killed. A short time before, Major Ormsby of 
Carson City, in command of seventy-five or eighty men, 
went to Pyramid Lake to give battle to the Piutes, who had 
been killing emigrants and prospectors by the wholesale. 
Nearly all the command were killed in a running fight of 
sixteen miles. In the fight Major Ormsby and the lamented 
Harry Meredith were killed. Another regiment of about 
seven hundred men, under the command of Col. Daniel E. 
Hungerford and Jack Hayes, the noted Texas ranger, was 
raised. Hungerford was the beau ideal of a soldier, the hero 
of three wars, and one of the best tacticians of his time. This 


command drove the Indians pell-mell for three miles to 
Mud Lake, killing and wounding them at every jump. Col- 
onel Hungerford and Jack Hayes received, and were entitled 
to, great praise, for at the close of the war terms were made 
which have kept the Indians peaceable ever since. Jack 
Hayes died several years since in Alameda, Cal. Colonel 
Hungerford, at the ripe age of seventy years, is hale and 
hearty, enjoying life and resting on his laurels in Italy, 
where he resides with his granddaughter, the Princess 

" As previously stated, it is marvelous that the pony boys 
were not all killed. There were only four men at each sta- 
tion, and the Indians, who were then hostile, roamed all 
over the country in bands of 30 to 100. 

"What I consider my most narrow escape from death 
was being shot at one night by a lot of fool emigrants, 
who, when I took them to task about it on my return trip, 
excused themselves by saying, ' We thought you was an 

" I want to say one good word for our bosses, Messrs. 
Russell, Majors & Waddell. The boys had the greatest 
veneration for them because of their general good treat- 
ment at their hands. They were different in many respects 
from all other freighters on the plains, who, as a class, were 
boisterous, blasphemous, and good patrons of the bottle, 
while Russell, Majors & Waddell were God-fearing, 
religious, and temperate themselves, and were careful to 
engage none in their employ who did not come up to their 
standard of morality. 

"Calf-bound Bibles were distributed by them to every 
employe. The one given to me was kept till 1881, and was 
then presented to Ionic Lodge No. 35, A. F. & A. M., at 
Leadville, Colo. 


" The Pony Express was a great undertaking at the time, 
and was the foundation of the mail-coach and railroad that 
quickly followed." 

During the war J. G. Kelley was commissioned by Gov. 
James W. Nye as captain of Company C, Nevada Infantry, 
and served till the end of the war, after which he resumed 
his old business of mining, and is still engaged in it. 




It was the afternoon of a day in early summer, along 
in 1859, when we found ourselves drifting in a boat down 
the Missouri. The morning broke with a drizzling rain, 
out of a night that had been tempestuous, with a fierce 
gale, heavy thunder, and unusually terrific lightning. 
Gradually the rain stopped, and we had gone but a short 
distance when the clouds broke away, the sun shone forth, 
and the earth appeared glistening with a new beauty. 
Ahead of us appeared, high up on the bluffs, a clump of 
trees and bushes. 

As we drew near, a sudden caprice seized us, and shoot- 
ing our boat up on the shelving bank, we secured it, and 
then climbed the steep embankment. We intended to 
knock around in the brush a little while, and then resume 
our trip. A fine specimen of an eagle caught our eye, 
perched high up on the dead bough of a tree. 

Moving around to get a good position to pick him off 
with my rifle, so that his body would not be torn, I caught 
sight through an opening of the trees of an immense herd 
of buffaloes, browsing and moving slowly in our direction. 
We moved forward a little to get a better view of the herd, 
when the eagle, unaware to us, spread his pinions, and 
when we looked again for him he was soaring at a safe 
distance from our rifles. 

We were on the leeward side of the herd, and so safe 
from discovery, if we took ordinary precaution, among the 
trees. It was a fine spectacle which they presented, and, 



what was more, we were in just the mood to watch them. 
The land undulated, but was covered for many acres with 
minute undulations of dark-brown shoulders slowly drift- 
ing toward us. We could hear the rasping sound which 
innumerable mouths made chopping the crisp grass. As 
we looked, our ears caught a low, faint, rhythmical sound, 
borne to us from afar. 

We listened intently. The sound grew more distinct, 
until we could recognize the tread of another herd of 
buffaloes coming from an opposite direction. 

We skulked low through the undergrowth, and came to 
the edge of the wooded patch just in time to see the van of 
this new herd surmounting a hill. The herd was evidently 
spending its force, having already run for miles. It came 
with a lessening speed, until it settled down to a comfort- 
able walk. 

About the same time the two herds discovered each 
other. Our herd was at first a little startled, but after a 
brief inspection of the approaching mass, the work of 
clipping the grass of the prairies was resumed. The fresh 
arrivals came to a standstill, and gazed at the thousands of 
their fellows, who evidently had preempted their grazing 
grounds. Apparently they reached the conclusion that 
that region was common property, for they soon lowered 
their heads and began to shave the face of the earth of its 
green growths. 

The space separating the herds slowly lessened. The 
outermost fringes touched but a short distance from our 
point of observation. It was not like the fringes of a 
lady's dress coming in contact with the lace drapery of a 
window, I can assure you. Nothing so soft and sibilant as 
that. It was more like the fringes of freight engines com- 
ing in contact with each other when they approach with 
some momentum on the same track. 


The powerful bulls had unwittingly found themselves in 
close proximity to each other, coming from either herd. 
Suddenly shooting up from the sides of the one whose herd 
was on the ground first, flumes of dirt made graceful curves 
in the air. They were the signals for hostilities to com- 
mence. The hoofs of the powerful beast were assisted by 
his small horns, which dug the sod and tossed bunches 
that settled out of the air in his shaggy mane. 

These belligerent demonstrations were responded to in 
quite as defiant a fashion by the late arrival. He, too, was 
an enormous affair. We noticed his unusual proportions of 
head. But his shoulders, with their great manes, were 
worth displaying to excite admiration and awe at theif 
possibilities, if they could do nothing more. 

Unquestionably the two fellows regarded themselves as 
representative of their different herds, the one first on the 
ground viewing the other as an interloper, and he in his 
turn looking upon the former as reigning, because no one 
had the spirit to contest his supremacy and show him where 
he belonged. They sidled up near each other, their heads 
all the while kept low to the ground, and their eyes red 
with anger and rolling in fiery fury. This display of the 
preliminaries of battle drew the attention of an increasing- 
number from either herd. At first they would look up, then 
recommence their eating, and then direct their attention 
more intensely as the combatants began to measure their 
strength more closely. And when the fight was on they 
became quite absorbed in the varying fortunes of the 

At last the two huge fellows, after a good deal of cir- 
cumlocution, made the grand rush. I reckon it would be 
your everlasting fortune if one of you college fellows who 
play football had the force to make the great rush which 
either one of these animals presented. The collision was 


straight and square. A crash of horns, a heavy, dull thud 
of heads. We thought surely the skull of one or the other, 
or possibly both, was crushed in. But evidently they were 
not even hurt. 

Didn't they push then? Well, I guess they did. The 
force would have shoved an old-fashioned barn from its 
foundations. The muscles swelled up on the thighs, the 
hoofs sank into the earth, but they were evenly matched. 

For a moment there was a mutual cessation of hostilities 
to get breath. Then they came together with a more 
resounding crash than before. Instantly we perceived that 
the meeting of the heads was not square. The new cham- 
pion had the best position. Like a flash he recognized it 
and redoubled his efforts to take its full advantage. 
The other appeared to quadruple his efforts to maintain 
himself in position, and his muscles bulged out, but his 
antagonist made a sudden move which wrenched his head 
still farther off the line, when he went down on his knees. 
That settled the contest, for his enemy was upon him 
before he could recover. He was thrown aside and his 
flank raked by several ugly upward thrusts of his foe, 
which left him torn and bruised, all in a heap. As quick 
as he could get on his feet he limped, crestfallen, away. 

The victorious fellow lashed his small tail, tossed his 
head, and moved in all the pride of his contest up and 
down through the ranks of his adversary's herd. How 
exultant he was! We took it to be rank impudence, and 
though he had exhibited some heroic qualities of strength 
and daring, it displeased us to see him take on so many airs 
on account of his victory. 

But his conquest of the field was not yet entirely com- 
plete. As he strode proudly along his progress was stopped 
by a loud snort, and, looking aside, he saw a fresh challenge. 
There, standing out in full view, was another bull, a mon- 


ster of a fellow belonging to his late enemy's herd. He 
pawed the earth with great strokes and sent rockets of turf 
curving high in air, some of which sifted its fine soil down 
upon the nose of the victor. 

As we looked at this new challenger and took in his 
immense form, we chuckled with the assurance that the 
haughty fellow would now have some decent humility 
imposed upon him. The conqueror himself must have 
been impressed with the formidableness of his new antag- 
onist, for there was a change in his demeanor at once. Of 
course, according to a well-established buffalo code, he 
could do nothing but accept the challenge. 

Space was cleared as the two monsters went through 
their gyrations, their tossings of earth, their lashings of tail, 
their snorts and their low bellows. This appeared to them 
a more serious contest than the former, if we could judge 
from the length of the introductory part. They took more 
time before they settled down to business. We were of 
the opinion that the delay was caused by the champion, 
who resorted to small arts to prolong the preliminaries. 
We watched it all with the most excited interest. It had 
all the thrilling features of a Spanish bull-fight without the 
latter's degradation of man. Here was the level of nature. 
Here the true buffalo instincts with their native temper 
were exhibiting themselves in the most emphatic and vig- 
orous fashion. It was the buffalo's trial of nerve, strength, 
and skill. Numberless as must have been these tourna- 
ments, in which the champions of different herds met to 
decide which was superior, in the long ages during which the 
buffalo kingdom reigned supreme over the vast western 
prairies of the United States, yet few had ever been wit- 
nessed by man. We were looking upon a spectacle rare to 
human eyes, and I confess that I was never more excited 
than when this last trial reached its climax. It was a 


question now whether the champion should still hold his 
position. It stimulates one more when he thinks of losing 
what he has seized than when he thinks of failing to 
grasp that which he has never possessed. Undoubtedly 
both of these animals had this same feeling, for as we 
looked at this latest arrival, we about concluded that he 
was the real leader, and not the other that limped away 

While these and other thoughts were passing through 
our minds, the two mighty contestants squared and made 
a tremendous plunge for each other. What a shock was 
that! What a report rolled on the air! The earth 
fairly shook with the terrific concussion of buffalo 
brains, and both burly fellows went down on their knees. 
Both, too, were on their feet the same instant, and 
locked horns with the same swiftness and skill, and each 
bore down on the other with all the power he could sum- 
mon. The cords stood out like great ropes on their necks; 
the muscles on thighs and hips rose like huge welts. We 
were quite near these fellows and could see the roll of their 
blood-red fiery eyes. They braced and shoved with per- 
fectly terrible force. The froth began to drip in long 
strings from their mouths. The erstwhile victor slipped 
with one hind foot slightly. His antagonist felt it and 
instantly swung a couple of inches forward, which raised the 
unfortunate buffalo's back, and we expected every instant 
that he would go down. But he had a firm hold and he 
swung his antagonist back to his former position, where 
they were both held panting, their tongues lolling out. 

There was a slight relaxation for breath, then the con- 
test was renewed. Deep into the new sod their hoofs sunk, 
neither getting the advantage of the other. Like a crack of 
a tree broken asunder came a report on the air, and one of 
the legs of the first fighter sank into the earth. The 


other buffalo thought he saw his chance, and made a furious 
lunge toward his opponent. The earth trembled beneath 
us. The monsters there fighting began to reel. We beheld 
an awful rent in the sod. For an instant the ground 
swayed, then nearly an acre dropped out of sight. 

We started back with horror, then becoming reassured, we 
slowly approached the brink of the new precipice and 
looked over. This battle of the buffaloes had been fought 
near the edge of this high bluff. Their great weight — each 
one was over a ton — and their tremendous struggles had 
loosened the fibers which kept the upper part of the bluff 
together, and the foundations having been undermined by 
the current, all were precipitated far below. 

As we gazed downward we detected two moving masses 
quite a distance apart, and soon the shaggy fronts of these 
buffaloes were seen. One got into the current of the river 
and was swept down stream. The other soon was caught 
by the tides and swept onward toward his foe. Probably 
they resumed the contest when, after gaining a good foot- 
ing farther down the banks of the Missouri, they were 
fully rested. 

But more probably, if they were sensible animals, and in 
some respects buffaloes have good sense, they concluded 
after such a providential interference in their terrific fight 
that they should live together in fraternal amity. So, no 
doubt, on the lower waters of the Missouri two splendid 
buffaloes have been seen by later hunters paying each 
other mutual respect, and standing on a perfect equality as 
chief leaders of a great herd. 



My father, being one of the very first pioneers of Jack- 
son Count}% Missouri, abundant opportunity was afforded 
me to become acquainted with the habits of wild animals 
of every description which at that time roamed in that 
unsettled portion of the country, such as elk, deer, bear, 
and panther. 

Among these animals the most peculiar was the black 
bear, which was found in considerable numbers. Bears, in 
many respects, differ from all other animals; they are very 
small when born, and when grown the females, in their 
best state of fatness, will weigh from two hundred and fifty 
to three hundred and fifty pounds. The male bears weigh 
at their best much more; from four hundred to five hun- 
dred pounds. They are remarkably intelligent animals, 
and are very wild, wanting but little to do with civilization, 
for as soon as white people made their appearance in the 
regions of country inhabited by them, it was not long 
before they migrated to other portions of the country. To 
the early settlers of the new country bear meat proved of 
great value, being very fat, and on account of this great 
fatness particularly useful to them in the seasoning of 
leaner meats, such as wild turkey, venison, etc., which con- 
stituted much of the living of the early settlers or pioneers 
of the Mississippi and Missouri valleys. 

The bear's life each year is divided into three distinct 
periods. From the first of April to the middle of Septem- 
ber they live upon vegetables, such as they can find in the 

(201 i 


wild woods, fruits of every description, and meats of every 
kind, from the insect to the largest animal that lives; peri- 
winkles, frogs, and fish of all kinds; all living things in the 
water as well as on the land. From the middle of September 
they cease to eat of the various things they have lived on 
during the summer, and take entirely to eating mast, that 
is, acorns, beech-nuts, pecans, chestnuts, and chincapins. 
On commencing to eat mast, they begin to fatten very 
rapidly. I should have remarked that during the summer 
months, the season in which they live on insects and 
meats of every variety, they lose every particle of the fat 
they had accumulated while eating mast. On account of 
his abstemious habits the prohibitionists should value the 
bear as emblematical of their order. Coming out of their 
long sleep the first of April, or when the vegetation has 
grown sufficient for them to feed upon, they commence to 
eat herbs, meats, and fruits of every kind. They are 
remarkably fond of swine at this period, and unlike the 
wolf, who seeks to catch the young pigs, the bear picks up 
the mother and walks off with her. She affords him a 
splendid opportunity for so doing, it being a trait of the 
mother hog, as it is of the mother bear, to fight ferociously 
for her young. The strength of the bear is phenomenal. 
They can take up in their mouths and carry off with per- 
fect ease an ordinary sized hog, calf, or sheep. During 
this season they frequent corn fields, devouring the corn 
when it comes to the size of roasting ears. Indeed there 
is little to be found that is edible by man or beast that the 
bear at some period of his life does not eat. When they 
commence eating mast, which is about the middle of Sep- 
tember or the first of October, as stated, they eat nothing 
else until about the 15th to the 20th of December, by 
which time most of them become exceedingly fat; so much 
so, indeed, that in some cases it is difficult for them to run 


very fast, not half as fast as they could before becoming so 
fat. All of the very fat ones, about the middle of Decem- 
ber, cease to eat or drink anything, make themselves beds 
and lie down in them, preparatory to going into their caves 
or dens for their long sleep. They lie in these beds, which 
may be several miles from the caves in which they intend 
to take their winter sleep, several days, or sometimes a 
week, and by this temporary stay in the open air, nature is 
given time to dispose of every particle of water and food 
in the body. After this time has elapsed, they leave these 
temporary beds and go as straight as the crow flies to their 
intended quarters, which are generally caves in the rocks, 
if such can be found in the regions they inhabit. This 
sleep is taken when the animals are the very fattest. 
None but the very fat ones go through the period of hi- 
bernating. They do not lose one pound's weight during 
this sleep, unless it be iri respiration, which is a very small 
quantity compared with the entire mass, for no excretions 
are made during that period. Entering the caves they 
remain there from three to four months, this being their 
dormant or hibernating period, and for this reason they 
are known among hunters as one of the family of seven 
sleepers. Each makes his bed in the bottom of the cave 
by scratching out a large, round, basin-shaped place in the 
dirt; these beds after being once made remain intact, as 
the caves are invariably dry, and are used by the same bear 
year after year if he is not disturbed; and after his demise 
will be adopted by another of his kind. Some of these 
caves have been perhaps for ages during the winter time 
the abode of a number of these " seven sleepers." 

In my opinion there is no animal in the world that is so 
healthy, and the meat of which is more beneficial to man- 
kind, than is the meat of the black bear. The doctors 
invariably recommend it for patients who are troubled with 


indigestion or chest diseases. Bear's oil (for that is what 
it really is) is considered a better curative and much pref- 
erable on account of its pleasant taste, to cod-liver oil, 
which is very disagreeable. 

In settling the Mississippi Valley, when bear's meat was 
such a factor in the way of food, each of the frontiersmen 
kept a pack of dogs — all the way from three to half-a- 
dozen — partly for bear hunting, which was a very exciting 
sport, in fact the most of any other game hunting. I have 
been long and well acquainted with the courage shown by 
dogs in hunting and fighting game, and there is nothing I 
ever saw a dog undertake that arouses his courage so much 
as a contest with a bear. The dog seems to think a fight 
with a bear the climax of his existence. One familiar with, 
and accustomed to, bear hunting can tell at long distances 
whether the dogs are having a. combat with a bear or some 
other animal, by the energy they put into their yelping. 
When fighting a bear the dogs continually snap and bite at 
his hind legs, as this is the only way they have of exasper- 
ating and irritating him, as they dare not approach him in 

The full-grown bear is able to stand off any number of 
dogs that can get around him. So strong are they that if 
they can get hold of a dog in their fore arms or mouth, he 
is very likely to be killed. The large she-bear can take an 
ordinary sized dog in her fore paws and crush him to death, 
and they can strike with such force as to send the sharp 
nails of their paws fairly through the dog. On account of 
the adeptness with which bears use their fore paws, the dogs 
try constantly to be in their rear, and the bears are always 
trying to confront them. The bear in moving his paws to 
strike never draws them back, but invariably makes a for- 
ward movement, which is a surprise to the dogs, as it gives 


them no warning, hence the aim of the former to confront 
the enemy, and of the latter not to be confronted. 

I have stood several times, when a boy, upon the door- 
step of my father's log-cabin and watched the men and 
dogs in their chase after a bear, only a few hundred yards 
away. This was, of course, only a few months after the 
first settlers came into the country, for it was the habit of 
these bears to leave as soon as they knew the white people 
had come to stay. 

Bears roam in the very thickest woods and roughest por- 
tions of the country, and it is difficult to find one so far 
away from the rough woods that he can not reach such 
locality in a very few moments after he is attacked; and 
unlike other game that was found on the frontier, instead 
of trying to get into the open prairie, where they can run, 
they make at once after being disturbed for the cliffs of 
the rivers and creeks and the canebrakes; in fact into the 
very roughest places they can find, and take the shortest 
cut to get to them. 

Bears do not depend on the senses of sight and hearing 
for their protection as much as upon the sense of smell, by 
which they can distinguish perfectly their friends or 
enemies. The scent of man would strike terror to their 
hearts as much as the sight of him, and they scent him 
much farther than they can see him, especially when they 
are in the thick woods or canebrakes, where they often 

Frequently instead of fighting dogs on the ground, when 
tired, the bear climbs a tree, sometimes going up fifty feet, 
and there rests, lodged in a fork or upon a limb, surveying 
with complacency the howling pack of dogs, and they in 
turn, becoming more bold as the distance between their 
victim and themselves increases, defiantly extend their 
necks toward their black antagonist in the tree. Notwith- 


standing the bear's dread of the howling pack of dogs in 
waiting for their prey, if he sees a man he loses his hold 
and drops, falling among the dogs, sometimes falling on 
one or more and killing them. 

I have known the hunter to be so cautious in showing 
himself that before he came near enough to shoot he 
would select the trunks of large trees, hiding behind them 
as he approached, until being near enough, and con- 
cealed from the bear by one of these trunks, he moved his 
head a little to one side to take aim; the moment he moved 
his head sufficient to do so, if the bear chanced to be look- 
ing that way, he would let go his hold and drop, showing 
that, after all, he knew where the real danger was. 

It is very desirable in bear hunting that the bear should 
climb a tree and give his pursuer an opportunity to fire at 
him there, for while he is in the fight with the dogs it 
would be almost impossible for the hunter to shoot the bear 
without taking the chance of injuring or killing one or 
more of the dogs. The dogs are also in great danger when 
a bear weighing from three to five hundred pounds falls a 
distance of forty or fifty feet, be the bear dead or alive. 
No other animal that I know of could fall such a distance 
and not be more or less hurt, but bears are not injured in 
the least, being protected by their immense covering of fat, 
which forms a complete shield, or cushion, around the 

The bear can stand on his hind legs just as easily as a 
man can stand on his feet, and in their fights with dogs 
they shield themselves by standing up against large trees, 
cliffs, or rocks, so that the dogs have no chance at them 
except in front. In this position they can stand off any 
number of dogs, and the dogs well know the danger of 
approaching from the front. No body of drilled men 
could act their part better than the dogs do, without any 


training whatever, which is a great proof of their intel- 

The moment a bear shows that he is about to climb a 
tree in order to get out of the ground scuffle with his 
opponents, the dogs, and attempts to do so, the dogs with 
one accord pitch at him, until there are so many hanging 
to his hind legs that often he can not climb, and falls on his 
back to rid himself of and to fight them. He can fight 
when on his back as well as in any other position, for he 
embraces them in his arms, by no means gently. 

He may try climbing a tree three or four times before he 
can sufficiently rid himself of the dogs; even then, perhaps, 
he may have one or two hanging to his legs, which he 
carries with him maybe ten or twelve feet up the tree, and 
the dogs, under the greatest excitement, keep perfect 
consciousness of the distance, and they are able to fall 
without being injured. 

Let us now turn our attention to the mothers, or she- 
bears. They become mothers during the period of their 
hibernation, going into the caves at the time already 
mentioned when the other fat bears hibernate, and lie 
dormant until the time their cubs are born, which is about 
the middle of February. These require a great deal of the 
mother's attention, and she is faithful and follows her 
motherly instincts to her own death, if need be. After the 
cubs are born she goes once every day for water, which, 
with her accumulated fat, produces milk for the sustenance 
of her young, she having selected her cave near a stream 
of running or living water. 

She does not eat a particle of any food from the first of 
December to the middle of April. By the time she leaves 
her bed, where she has been for four months in solitude, 
the cubs are sufficiently large to follow the mother, and 
should any danger threaten them, to climb a tree, which 


they arc very quick to do, and if they do not do so at the 
bidding of the mother at once, she catches them up in her 
fore paws and throws them up against the tree, giving 
them to understand they must climb for their protection. 
The male bear is the greatest enemy the mother and the 
cubs have to look out for; for unless protected by the 
mother, he will seize and eat the cubs, during the season of 
the year when bears eat meat, but he is not disposed to 
hurt the mother bear, unless in a scuffle in trying to get 
hold of the young; therefore it is necessary for her to have 
her little ones with her every moment after they come out 
of the cave where they are born, and where they stay for 
more than two months before they are brought out into the 

Should danger threaten, and there is a small tree near, 
she will invariably make her cubs climb it, where they are 
safe, because the large male bear can not climb very small 
trees. If she is compelled to send her cubs up a large 
tree, she stands ready and willing to sacrifice her life for 
the protection of her young, and not in the annals of 
natural history can there be found a mother which shows 
such desperation in the protection of her young as does 
the mother bear. 

Nothing daunts her when her cubs are imperiled, and 
neither man nor dogs in any number will avail in driving 
her from them. I have seen mother bears stand at the 
roots of trees up which their cubs had climbed, cracking 
their teeth and striking their paws, which sounded like the 
knocking of two hammers together, as warning to their 
enemies they would fight till they dropped dead, or killed 
their antagonist. 

They all fast during the entire period of hibernation. 
Bears bring forth their young but once in two years, 
and nature has wisely designed it so. In order to protect 


the cubs from the male bear, and other enemies, the 
mother's constant presence and care are necessary until 
they are old and large enough to protect themselves. On 
this account she keeps them with her until they are over 
a year old, and they generally hibernate the first year with 
her, after which they leave her, to roam where they will. 

As my knowledge of the bear was obtained by being 
brought up and living in the portion of the State of Mis- 
souri they inhabited, it was natural when I grew up that I 
became a bear-hunter. I have killed them at all times of 
the year; when in their caves, shortly after they have come 
out in the spring, and while in their beds, before going to 
their caves. I have traced them by their tracks in the 
snow from their temporary beds to their winter caves. 
On account of my own experience, and my association 
with the best and oldest bear-hunters, I have had good op- 
portunities to learn the nature and habits of black bear. 
Although I have seen a great many bears of the Rocky 
Mountains, and have had some little experience with the 
cinnamon, the brown, and the silver-gray bear, I am not as 
familiar with their modes of life as I am with those of 
the black bear that were found in such numbers in the 
Mississippi Valley when the white people first emigrated to 
that country. Bears of the Rocky Mountains, and espe- 
cially grizzly bears, are very much larger than black bears, 
and, as far as I have been able to learn from those who 
have hunted them, their meat, as food, does not compare 
with that of the black bear. 

One of my personal experiences in bear hunting oc- 
curred about the 15th of December, 1839, in Taney County, 
Missouri, where I then lived. After a deep snow had fallen, 
I had provided myself with some bread, a piece of fat bear 
meat, and a little salt, and some corn for my horse, and 
unaccompanied, except by my horse and four dogs, I 


started out to try and kill a bear. On reaching that part 
of the mountains where I expected to find them, I came 
across a number of trails, and soon found one which I 
knew must have been by a very fat bear. Hunters know 
by the trail whether the bear is fat, for if fat he makes two 
rows of tracks about a foot apart, while a lean bear makes 
only one row of tracks, similar to that of a dog. I 
spent part of one day in tracking this animal, which I was 
sure would be well worth my pains. While on this trail I 
was led to the deserted bed of one of the largest bears I 
ever saw, for I afterward had ample, opportunity of judg- 
ing of its size and weight. He had lain in his temporary 
bed during the falling of the snow, after which he had 
gone in a bee-line to the cave for his intended hibernation. 
Feeling sure he was such a large animal, I followed the 
trail four or five miles, going as straight as if I had fol- 
lowed the bearings of a compass. On a very high peak 
at the mouth of one of those caves, of which there are so 
many in that country, his trail disappeared. The openings 
of many of these caves are so small that it is often with 
great difficulty a large bear effects an entrance. However, 
though the openings are so small, the caves are broad and 
spacious. In these caves bears hibernate. This particu- 
lar cave had a very small and irregular opening, so that I 
could not enter it with my gun; but, as is the custom with 
bear-hunters, I cut a pole ten or twelve feet long, sharpened 
one end. and to this tied a piece of fat bear meat, set fire 
to it, and made another attempt to enter the cave. Find- 
ing I could not do this, on account of the opening being 
so irregular, I abandoned the idea of shooting him in his 
cave, and proceeded to kindle a fire at the mouth, and put- 
ting a pole across the opening, hung my saddle-blanket 
and a green buckskin that I procured the day before, when 
getting meat for my dogs, upon it. This covering drove 


the smoke from the fire into the cave, which soon dis- 
turbed the animal, so that he came and put the fire out by 
striking it with his paws. Instead of coming out of the 
cave as I supposed he would, after putting out the fire, he 
went back to his bed. He had gotten such draughts of 
the suffocating smoke that he made no other attempts to 
get to the mouth of the cave, where my four dogs were stand- 
ing, ready, nervous, and trembling, watching for him, and 
I was standing on one side of the mouth of the cave, 
prepared to put a whole charge into him if he made his 
appearance. I waited a few moments after I heard him 
box the fire for him to return, but as he did not, I took 
the covering from the mouth of the cave and found the 
fire was entirely out. I then rekindled it and replaced the 
coverings, and it was not long after until I heard him 
groaning, like some strong-chested old man in pain. I 
listened eagerly for his moanings to cease, knowing that 
he must die of suffocation. It was not, however, very long 
until all was still. I then uncovered the mouth of the 
cave to let the smoke out. It was some time before I could 
venture in; before I did so I relit my light, and going in I 
found my victim not twenty feet from the mouth of 
the cave, lying on his back, dead; and, as before stated, he 
was the largest animal of the kind I ever saw or killed. 
It took me seven or eight hours to slaughter him and 
carry the meat out of the cave, as I could not carry more 
than fifty pounds at a time and crawl out and in. 

When I opened the chest of this big bear, I found two 
bullets. These were entirely disconnected with any solid 
matter. They had been shot into him by some hunter who 
knew precisely the location of a bear's heart, which is 
different from what it is in other animals. His heart lies 
much farther back in his body, being precisely in the center 
of the same, while the heart of all other quadrupeds, and 


I think I have known all those of North America, lies just 
back of their shoulders; in other words, in the front part 
of the chest. 

These bullets, from the necessity of the case, must have 
been shot into the animal when he was the very fattest, and 
when he was ready for hibernation, because they were not 
lodged in the flesh, but entirely loose in the chest, each one 
covered with a white film, and tied with a little ligament, 
about the size of a rye straw, to the sack that contained 
the heart. When the bear lay down, these bullets could 
not have been more than half or three-quarters of an inch 
from each other, for each one was covered separately, and 
had a separate ligament attaching it to the sack above 
alluded to; and the two ligaments, where they had grown 
to the sack, were not more than a quarter of an inch apart. 
I cut out the piece containing both the bullets, and taking 
it in my fingers reminded me of two large cherries with the 
stems almost touching at the point where they were broken 
from the limb. What I have just described would indeed 
have been an interesting study to the medical fraternity, as 
perhaps there has never been anything like it. It could 
not have occurred in this particular way, except where the 
bear had gone through the preparation peculiar to him 
before hibernating, and after leaving his temporary bed he 
could lie dormant and give nature ample opportunity to 
restore the injury to the system which the bullet had 
caused. The above facts proved that it was just at the 
season of the year when the bear was ready to hibernate. 

In this article at the outset, I mentioned the fact that 
the bear is a peculiar animal. Indeed he is the most pecul- 
iar of any quadruped with which I am familiar. He has 
many marked characteristics. He assumes in twelve 
months three different modes of life, each one thoroughly 
distinct from the other. He hibernates, during which time 


he abstains entirely from food and water. On coming out 
of this dormant condition he commences to eat food of 
every kind, peculiar to that season of the year. After 
living for months on anything and everything he can get, 
he ceases to eat any of these various things, and begins a 
totally different kind of diet, eating only mast — acorns and 
nuts of every kind. Another of their peculiarities is the 
cubs are not permitted to see the light for sixty days after 
being born, as they are in the dark solitude of a cave in 
the ground. Still another characteristic is the mother bear 
takes care of her young until they are fourteen months 
old, they hibernating with her the second winter of their 

The bear differs from other quadrupeds in being able to 
stand or walk on his two hind feet as well as on all-fours, 
and in this position he can make telling efforts at protect- 
ing himself. He climbs trees, and thus gets the mast by 
breaking the branches and picking off the acorns. He is 
also so constituted that he can fall great distances, even 
from the top of a tree, without injuring himself in the least. 
The mother bear has, as far as I know, generally two, never 
more than three, cubs at a time; when young these cubs 
can be easily tamed, and become in time very devoted to 
their owner. They are very intelligent, so that with proper 
training they will learn the tricks any animal has been 
known to learn. When small they are great playmates for 
boys, and will wrestle with them and enter into sports with 
great intelligence. They are never dangerous until grown, 
and not then unless crossed or abused. Wild bears are not 
considered dangerous unless they are attacked and are 
unable to make their escape. Under no circumstances, as 
already stated, does the mother bear forsake her young 
when they are in danger. In teaching bears tricks, one 
lesson is sufficient, as they seem never to forget. A friend 


of mine owned a pet bear which became so familiar about 
the place and so attached to all, that he could be turned 
loose with a chain several feet long dragging after him. 
He conceived the idea of scratching a hole beside the wall, 
where he could go and hide himself to take his naps. One 
day his owner wanted to show him to some one while he 
was asleep in his hole, and took hold of the chain, which 
was lying extended for some distance, and pulled the little 
bear out. This gentleman stated to me that this never 
occurred but once. After this, whenever the bear went to 
take his nap, the first thing he did after getting into the 
hole was to pull the chain in after him. His owner had a 
post set in the yard fifteen or twenty feet high, with a 
broad board nailed on the top. The bear would climb this 
post and lie down on the board. The first thing he did 
after lying down was to pull that chain up and put it in a 
coil at his side. His owner told me that one lesson sufficed 
to teach him anything. I have repeated many of these 
facts in order to bring them more clearly and forcibly to 
the mind of the reader. 



In the settlement of the Western States and Territories 
one of the sources of income, and the only industry which 
commanded cash for the efforts involved, was that of 
beaver trapping, the skin of the beaver selling as high as 
fifteen or twenty dollars. The weight of the beaver is 
from thirty to sixty pounds, and it is an animal possessed 
of great intelligence, as the amount and kind of work 
accomplished by it shows. It is a natural-born engineer, as 
connected with water; it can build dams across small 
streams that defy the freshets, and that hold the water 
equal, if not superior, to the very best dams that can be 
constructed by skilled engineers. 

In making their dams the sticks and poles which they 
use in the construction of the same are cut with their 
teeth, of which they have four, two in the upper part of 
the mouth and two in the lower. 

These poles they place across each other in all directions. 
They build their dams during the fall usually, and should 
they need repair, the work is done before the very cold 
weather commences, working only at night if danger is 

In the month of October they generally collect their 
food, which consists largely of the cottonwood; this is cut in 
lengths of from two to six feet, the diameter being some- 
times six inches, and carry it into their ponds made by the 
dams, and sunk in the deepest portion of the same. I should 
have stated that the higher up the stream they go, their 



dams are built correspondingly higher; hence a dam built 
at an altitude of 1,000 feet would not be built as high 
as one built at an altitude of 3,000 feet, in order to 
overcome the deeper freezing at that point, for in con- 
structing these dams they must be of sufficient height to 
give plenty of room to get at their food in the water under 
the ice. The beaver does not eat a particle of meat of any 
kind. The popular idea is that as they are animals that 
live in and about the water, that they live upon fish, but 
this is not so; for, as above stated, their principal food is 
the bark and the tender wood of the cottonwood, and they 
also eat of other barks. 

They are one of the most cleanly animals that lives. 
They live in the purest water that can be found, generally 
selecting streams that take their rise in the mountains, and 
where they can have an abundance of water the year round 
to live in. They dam up the streams in order to make 
ponds of sufficient depth to swim in under the ice to obtain 
their food, for the bottom of this pond is their store-room 
during the winter months. 

Beavers are exceedingly wild, seldom showing them- 
selves, and from the bottom of their pond they make a tun- 
nel leading to the house where they sleep, so that they can 
pass to the same unobserved by man or beast. When they 
make their ponds where the banks are low, they make 
their house upon the top of the ground, sometimes a rod 
or more from the edge of the pond, cutting timber of the 
size of a finger to two or three inches in diameter, placing 
the sticks in very much the same way as they do in build- 
ing their dams, crossing and recrossing them so that it is 
quite a job to tear one of their houses to pieces; in fact no 
one but a man would undertake the task, and one that has 
never had any experience would find it very difficult to 
accomplish, If one does it in the hope of catching the 


animal, he toils in vain, for he is soon scented, and the 
beaver takes refuge in the pond, passing through the 
underground tunnel. Where they find high banks, they 
start a tunnel several feet below the surface of the water 
and run it ascending, so as to reach a point in the bank six 
or eight or may be ten feet above the surface of the water 
underground, stopping before reaching the top of the 
ground, and at which point they take out dirt until they 
have a place sufficiently large for their bed. This kind of 
a house they much prefer to one made with sticks on the 
surface of the ground, as they are completely hidden from 
observation or the possibility of interruption from any one. 

The beaver's feet are webbed for the purpose of swim- 
ming, and there are nails on his feet, so that he can scratch 
the earth almost equal to a badger. He has a paddle- 
formed tail, which on a large full-grown beaver is from 
ten to twelve inches long and from six to seven inches 
broad, and without any hair on it. These are tough and 
sinewy, and when cooked they make a very fine food, the 
flavor reminding one of pig's feet or calf's head. They 
make considerable use of their tail in performing their 
work as well as in swimming. 

The beaver reproduces itself each year. The offspring 
are generally two in number, and these can be easily 

The trappers in trapping for the beaver have to use 
great precaution in approaching the place where they intend 
to set the traps, often getting into the stream above or 
below and wading for some distance. If they walked upon 
the bank the beaver would scent them from the footprints. 
Beavers, like all other wild animals, dread the sight or scent 
of man more than anything else. In setting the traps the 
trappers invariably choose as deep water as they can find, 
so that when a beaver is caught he will drown himself in 


his struggles to get free from the trap; for if this does not 
occur, he has often been known to cut off, with the sharp 
chisel used in cutting timber, the foot that is caught in the 
trap, so that it is not infrequent when the trapper 
comes in the morning to find a foot of the beaver instead 
of the beaver himself, and often he catches a beaver with 
only three feet. 

The beaver, considered as an engineer, is a remarkable 
animal. He can run a tunnel as direct as the best engineer 
could do with his instruments to guide him. I have seen 
where they have built a dam across a stream, and not hav- 
ing a sufficient head of water to keep their pond full, they 
would cross to a stream higher up the side of the mountain, 
and cut a ditch from the upper stream and connect it with 
the pond of the lower, and do it as neatly as an engineer 
with his tools could possibly do it. I have often said that 
the buck beaver in the Rocky Mountains had more engi- 
neering skill than the entire corps of engineers who were 
connected with General Grant's army when he besieged 
Vicksburg on the banks of the Mississippi. The beaver 
would never have attempted to turn the Mississippi into a 
canal to change its channel without first making a dam 
across the channel below the point of starting the canal. 
The beaver, as I have said, rivals and sometimes even 
excels the ingenuity of man. 

Another of the peculiarities of the beaver is the great 
sharpness of its teeth, remaining for many years as sharp 
as the best edged tool. The mechanic with the finest steel 
can not make a tool that will not in a short time become so 
blunt and so dulled as to require renewed sharpening, and 
this, with the beaver, would have to be repeated hundreds 
of times in order to do service with it during the whole of 
its lifetime, which is from ten to fifteen years if it is per- 
mitted to live the allotted years of a beaver. 


In one of my trips on a steamer of the Upper Missouri, one 
day while the boat's crew were getting their supply of wood, I 
took my gun and started along the river-bank in the hope of 
seeing an elk or deer that I might shoot. I came to a place 
on the river where the banks were very high, and I observed 
that a lot of cottonwood saplings from six to eight inches in 
diameter had been felled and cut into sections. I saw that 
it had been recently done, and I at first supposed that it 
had been done by some one with an ax, but when I 
reached the spot, I saw that it was the work of the beavers 
and that some of the wood had been dragged away. I fol- 
lowed the trail for a few steps, when I came to the mouth 
of a tunnel, and discovered that the timber had been 
dragged through it. The tunnel had an incline of about 
thirty-five degrees, and was as straight as if it had been 
made with an auger. This was in the month of October, at 
the time when it was their custom to stow away their food 
for the winter. They had no dam at this point, as the 
water was deep, and they were drawing the timbers down 
through the tunnel and sinking them in the deep water, so that 
they could have access to it during the period when the river 
would be frozen over. The reason for the tunnel, of which 
I have spoken, was that the river-bank for some distance 
was high and almost perpendicular, and the beaver, being a 
very clumsy animal with short legs, his only alternative 
was to make a tunnel in order to get his winter food. They 
have a way of sinking the cottonwood and keeping it down 
in their pond or simply in the deep water when they do not 
make dams. This family of beavers evidently had their 
house far under the surface of the ground, for the place 
was admirably adapted for them to make such a home, the 
banks being so high above the water. One could see no 
trace whatever of the beaver, or have a knowledge of where 
he was, more than the opening of the tunnel and where the 


timber had been cut; indeed, one might pass hundreds of 
times and not be conscious that beavers were living right 
under one's feet. I picked up one of the chips which the 
beaver had cut, measuring about seven inches in length, 
and carried it home with me as a curiosity. 


a boy's trip overland. 

Remembering my own love of adventure as a boy, I can 
not refrain from giving here a chapter contributed by my 
son, Green Majors, which will be found both instructive and 
interesting. He says: " At the inexperienced age of twelve 
years I was seized with a strong desire to go overland to 
Montana. For a number of years I had lived at Nebraska 
City, on the Missouri River, a starting point in those days 
for west-bound freight and emigrant wagon trains; and 
having so long seen the stage-coaches go bounding over 
the hills and rolling prairies, headed for the golden West, 
it was with a feeling of great satisfaction that on the morn- 
ing of April 26, 1866, I was seated on top of one of those 
same coaches, as a fellow passenger with my father, Alex- 
ander Majors, bound for the Rocky Mountains, and Helena, 
Mont., in particular. To my boyish fancy the never- 
ceasing rocking to and fro of the overland coach of early 
days was a constant delight. Denver we reached in six 
days and nights of incessant travel. Rain nor shine, floods 
nor deserts, stopped us. If a passenger became too sleepy 
or exhausted to hold on and sleep at the same time on the 
outside, he could get inside by submitting to the ' sardin- 
ing' process. But inside, the clouds of dust and the 
cramped position necessary to assume made one at times 
feel like the coach were spinning round like a top in the 
dark. At Denver we laid in a big supply of luncheon mate- 
rial, for the next continuous ride, without a town, was for 600 
miles, to Salt Lake City. However, before we reached 



Zipn, our troubles were many, one of which was being 
caught in a violent snow-storm one dark night while bowl- 
ing along over Laramie Plains. Our driver and his mules 
both lost the road. He so notified us, and we got out to 
wade through the innumerable drifts to see if we could feel 
the hard-beaten trail with our feet. But it was of no use. 
So for fear we might wander away from the emigrant road 
too far, or that he might drive over some precipice or into 
some hole or other in the blinding storm, we unhitched his 
four mules and tied each one with its head to a wheel, so 
there could be no runaway, and then all hands got back 
into the coach, tucked our wraps about us as best we could, 
and there we sat, like Patience on a monument, smiling at 
grief, with the wind whistling in all its many sad cadences 
through the flapping wings of that desolate coach, until the 
longest night I ever saw went by. Next morning we found 
two and a half feet of 'the beautiful' on the level, and 
the struggle to gain another station began. We tramped 
snow and broke trails for that coach to get through the 
drifts for about ten or fifteen miles, before we got to a 
lower altitude, out of the path of the storm, for all of which 
distance we of course paid the stage company 25 cents a 
mile fare, with no baggage allowance to speak of. 

" Not a great ways farther on, we struck the famous Bitter 
Creek country, a section that was the terror of travelers, be- 
cause of poor grass, water that was foul and bitter, and alkali 
plains that were terrific on man and beast. At one place 
along Bitter Creek its water was as red as blood, at another 
as yellow as an orange; but generally its color was a dark 
muddy drab, and highly impregnated with vegetable and 
earthy matter. I suppose Bitter Creek is the only place 
on earth where highwaymen had the cold-blooded nerve to 
charge travelers $1.50 for nothing but fat bacon, poorly 
cooked, and an inferior quality of mustard, as a meal's vict- 

a hoy's trip overland. 223 

uals, but the stage station-keepers had it there. By the 
time we finished our Bitter Creek experience we were proof 
against peril, so that subsequent floods in the canons from 
melting snows in the mountains, sitting bolt upright with 
three on a seat to sleep over the rough mountain roads at 
night, and passing over long stretches of country with no 
water fit to drink, were trivial circumstances. 

" After a thirty-day siege of this sort of experience, we 
alighted on the gravelly streets of Helena, Mont., then a 
town of canvas houses and tents, and log huts. Helena at 
that time was the liveliest town I have ever seen in my life, 
either in America or Europe, over the whole of both of 
which I have since traveled. At that time her business 
houses were largely propped up on stilts, while underneath 
the red-shirted placer miner was washing the blue gravel 
soil for gold-dust. Her streets, in many places, were 
bridged over, to allow of the same thing. Sunday was the 
liveliest day in the week for business. The plainest meal at 
a restaurant cost $1.50, and bakery pies, with brown paper 
used for a crust, cost 75 cents each. Everybody had money, 
and nobody appeared to want to keep what he had. Gold- 
dust was the money of the country, no greenbacks nor 
coin being used. A pennyweight of the yellow dust passed 
for a dollar, but expert cashiers, at the gaming places 
and stores, were said to know how to weigh the article 
so deftly that $100 of it in value would only go $50 in 
distance. However, wages were very high, and so was 
everything else, so that if a man were robbed pretty badly, 
he could soon recuperate his lost fortunes. There were no 
churches in Helena then, if, indeed, there were any in the 
Territory. The first Sunday after arriving there, I remem- 
ber attending divine service in a muslin building, but the 
blacksmith's hammer next door and the lusty auctioneer's 
voice in the street made so much noise the congregation 


could nut understand the divine's injunctions, so that 
church-going there, at that time, was attended with con- 
siderable annoyance. Everything was crude and primitive, 
everybody was cordial, generous, and open-hearted, and 
anything or anybody justly appealing to those roughly 
appareled yeomanry for aid or sympathy invariably opened 
the floodgates of their plenty and fired the great, deep, 
warm heart-throbs of their noble natures. 

" But they were as prompt in meting out retributive justice 
to the wrong-doer as in loosing their purse-strings to a 
worthy applicant, and many were the wayward souls jerked 
into eternity through the deadly and inexorable noose of 
the ubiquitous vigilante, whose will was law, and the objects 
of whose adverse edicts were soon plainly told to recite 
their last prayers in the body. 

"Cattle-raising on the rich, nutritious bunch-grass of the 
broad valleys of the Territory also soon grew to be a very 
lucrative business, to supply the numerous placer-mining 
towns of Montana, a number of which were quite important 
and thrifty camps at that time. Farming was also followed 
to a limited extent. Inasmuch as potatoes, cabbage, and 
other vegetables were largely imported from Salt Lake, 
about five hundred miles, all sorts of soil products yielded 
handsome returns. 

" Montana has had her periods of depression as well as of 
prosperity. For after her then-discovered and easily acces- 
sible placer ground became washed out, which took several 
years, times there grew very dull, but not until something 
like $200,000,000 worth of gold had been washed from her 
auriferous gulches and hillsides. Quartz mining was rare 
in those days, because freight and everything else was so 
high that few had the means to engage in that kind of 
mining. From a State of such prosperous activity in the 
sixties, with a large and well-to-do population, in 1874-75 

a boy's trip overland. 225 

it grew so dull and so many had left the Territory that 
those remaining wished they could get away too. In the 
Centennial year of 1876, however, Montana's true era of 
prosperity dawned, when rich silver quartz was discovered 
at the now famous city of Butte, styled ' the greatest mining 
camp on earth.' The Territory's business in every avenue 
soon rose from its low ebb to an affluent flood, all kinds 
and lines almost immediately feeling its vitalizing, stimu- 
lating influence. From an isolated mountain fastness it 
forthwith again became the theater of activity and thrift, and 
the stream of precious metals that it again poured into the 
world's commercial channels not long after required the 
capacity of a line of railroad to handle its vast volume. 
Chicago, New York, Boston, and other Eastern centers rec- 
ognized Montana merchants as among their heaviest and 
best-paying customers, again demonstrating that mining 
for the precious metals is the great vanguard of a rapid and 
substantial civilization. The Utah & Northern was the 
pioneer railroad into her confines, but its business soon 
grew to such enormous proportions that the Northern Pacific 
followed in three or four years, and then Jim Hill swooped 
in with his Great Northern Road. So that that apparently 
isolated section has three transcontinentals now running 
east and west through her entire length, with the Chicago, 
Burlington & Quincy on her eastern border, impatient to 
share her immense traffic, and the Butte, Boise & San Fran- 
cisco soon to give her a direct outlet to San Francisco 

" But to return to the early days of Montana, certainly one 
of the grandest and richest sections of the Union. It is in 
this State that the muddy Missouri River has its source, 
although in the mountainous part of its course its water is 
as clear as crystal. Here, also, the broad and majestic 
Columbia has its inception, the heads of these two noble 



streams bubbling up out of her lofty mountains quite close 
together. And it is a striking coincidence that the same 
section that sends these two noble streams down through 
fertile fields to the sea, bearing on their mighty bosoms the 
wealth and water supply of empires, should also possess the 
largest and richest deposits of the precious metals that the 
world has ever known. But such is the case. Speaking of 
precious metals recalls some of the ' stampedes ' to newly 
discovered mining camps in early days. A 'stampede ' is 
a panic reversed, usually instigated by the wild and rainbow- 
colored statements of over-enthusiastic persons, and often 
those statements had utterly no foundation in fact. Men 
would rise from their beds in the middle of the night, if 
thought necessary, and with insufficient food, clothing, or 
implements, afoot or horseback, climb dark mountains or 
canons, swim floods, tramp over alkali plains, or submit 
to any and all kinds of hardships, all for the sake of being 
among the first on the ground of newly discovered ' diggins.' 
'First come, first served,' was the rule, and each man was 
determined, as nearly as possible, to be first served. In the 
famous Sun River stampede, in the winter of 1866-67, Wltn 
the mercury coquetting with the 30-degree-below-zero point, 
it was said men actually started out in their shirt sleeves to 
make a hundred-mile journey through the deep snow to the 
reputed new camp without food supplies to carry them 
through. And as it often proved in other cases, there 
wasn't a particle of truth in the reputed rich fields. Dame 
Rumor, that ever versatile and fertile-brained jade, had had 
an inning, and she batted hard, firing her hot balls of decep- 
tion to all quarters of the field. In those days buffalo were 
plentiful on the plains of Eastern Montana. I think I have 
seen from twenty to fifty thousand in a single herd there. 
They blackened the hills and plains with their shaggy 
coats, they swarmed the rivers in their peregrinations, and 

A boy's trip overland. 227 

raised clouds of dust like a simoon in their journeys across 
the country. I have seen hundreds of them in a group 
mired down in the quicksands along the Upper Missouri 
River. Hunters walked on their backs and shot the fattest 
of them as trophies of the chase, and the ever ubiquitous, 
keen-scented wolves came and gnawed their vitals while 
they were yet alive, but helpless, in their inextricable posi- 
tions. At that time bands of stately elk also abounded 
there. Deer were plentiful, and the fleet-footed antelope 
bounded over every plain. Mountain sheep, whose tender 
meat was fat and juicy, climbed the terraced rocky cliffs in 
great numbers, while ducks, geese, pheasants, fool hens, and 
many other table fowl were to be had for a little effort on 
the part of the hunter. A fool hen is a species of bird 
weighing about two pounds, that is so foolish as to allow 
the gunner to lay aside his fire-arms and kill the whole 
flock with sticks and stones, so closely can it be approached 
without taking flight. Its meat is delicious. 

" Many volumes could be written on Montana's early rem- 
iniscences, her vast resources, her brilliant past, and her 
glorious prospective future. But the brief space allotted 
me precludes the possibility of detailed mention of people, 
places, or things, and I reluctantly stop sharpening my pen- 
cil. Montana has been great in the past, but her future will 
be much grander and greater still." 



Henry Allen was the first postmaster of Denver, so 
called, and charged 50 cents for bringing a letter from 
Fort Laramie. The first Leavenworth and Pike's express 
coach arrived there on May 17, 1859, having made the trip 
in nineteen days. This company reduced the postage rates 
on letters to 25 cents. The first postmaster of this concern 
was Mr. Fields, who was succeeded by Judge Amos Steck 
in the fall of 1859. 

On June 6, 1866, Horace Greeley, of the New York 
Tribune, arrived in Denver by express coach en route to 
California, and addressed the citizens that same Monday 
evening. The next day he straddled a mule for the Greg- 
ory mines in company with A. D. Richardson, then a 
Western correspondent of the Tribune. On the nth, they 
returned from Gilpin County mines, and published under 
Greeley's signature in a News extra his views concerning 
the extent and richness of the gold diggings which he had 
just witnessed with his own eyes. The circulation of this 
extra along the routes to the States soon caused another 
immense immigration to return there that fall. 

On October 3d the first election for county officers was 
held under provisional government. B. D. Williams was 
then elected to represent the new Territory of Jefferson in 

The first marriage took place in Aurora (West Denver) 
October 16, 1859, Miss Lydia R. Allen to Mr. John B. 
Atkins, Rev. G. W. Fisher officiating. The first school 



ever started in Denver was by O. T. Goldrick, October 3, 
1859, in a little cabin with a mud roof, minus windows and 
doors; and the first Sunday-school was organized October 
6, 1859, by Messrs. Tappen, Collier, Adrian, Fisher, and 
Goldrick, in the preacher's cabin on the west bank of Cherry 

The first theater, called Apollo, was opened in Denver 
October 3, 1859, by D. R. Thorn's troupe from Leaven- 
worth, with Sam D. Hunter for leading man and Miss Rose 
Wakely for leading lady. Old-timers will remember her 
well. She was considered the most beautiful lady that 
had graced Denver City in the first years of its existence. 

The first election for territorial officers and legislative 
assembly occurred October 24, 1859, when R. W. Steele, a 
miner, was made first governor. Over 2,000 votes were cast 
in the twenty-seven precincts of the Territory at that election. 

The first legislature assembled in Denver November 7, 
1859, comprising eight councilmen and nineteen representa- 
tives. On New Year's, i860, Denver had about 200 houses 
and Aurora (now West Denver) nearly 400, with a total 
combined city census of over 1,000 people, representing all 
classes, creeds, and nationalities; hence its cosmopolitan 
style from that day to this. Many brick and frame build- 
ings, stores, hotels, shops, and dwellings were put up in 
both towns during i860. One was the banking house of 
Streeter & Hobbs, corner of Eleventh and Laramie streets. 
The rate of interest charged by them at that time was from 10 
to 25 per cent per month, according to the collateral security, 
and from 10 to 25 cents per hundred pounds was the rate 
from the Missouri River for freight by ox or mule train. 

On the 8th of December, the day of the adjournment of 
the first legislature, an election was held by those in favor 
of remaining under the Kansas regime, and Capt. Richard 
Sopris was sent as representative in the Kansas legislature. 


John C. Moore was elected the first mayor of Dehv«>* v 
December 19, 1859, under a city charter granted by tne 
first provisional legislature. In the fall of '59 there Fere 
no particular politics there. The great question of the day 
was: " Are you a Denver man or an Aurorian?" Rivalry 
ran high between the two towns until the consolidation of 
Denver, Aurora, and Highlands, April 3, i860. The first 
officers of the Aurora town company were W. A. McFadding, 
president, and Dr. L. J. Russell, secretary. Those of the 
Denver town company were E. P. Stout, president, and 
H. P. A. Smith, secretary. Strange to say, not a single one 
of these property holders is now living there, or is now the 
owner of a single lot in this large city. 

I must not forget an event that happened in Denver 
then. A family arrived there from the East, consisting of 
father, mother, two daughters, and a son. One of the 
young Denverites took a fancy to one of the young ladies, 
but parents and son were opposed to the young man; yet 
he was not to be got rid of. One evening he took advan- 
tage of the absence of the parents and married the girl, and 
on the return of the parents in the evening the mother and 
son started to look for them, and threatened to kill the 
young man if they could find him. They found them at 
the Platte House, on Blake Street. The mother of the 
girl went to break In the door, but finally concluded not to 
do so, and left for her home. The parties are still living in 
Denver, and are well off and greatly respected. 

On November xo, 1859, a lager-beer brewery was estab- 
lished by Solomon, Tascher & Co. It was said that the 
beer was drinkable. It was as innocent of malt and hops 
as our early whisky was of wheat or rye. 

Thirty-three years ago next July the patriotic pioneers 
celebrated the Fourth of July in this city. It took place in 
a grove near the mouth of Cherry Creek. One Doctor Fox 


read the Declaration, and James K. Shaffer delivered an 
oration. There was music by the Council Bluffs band. 

July 12, i860, a series of murders and violence began 
there by desperadoes who had infested Denver during the 
summer. They tried to muzzle the mouth of the press, 
which bravely condemned their dastardly outrages, and as a 
consequence they raided the Rocky Mountain News and 
tried to kill its proprietor. 

The first regular United States mail arrived there on 
August 10, i860; P. W. McClure, postmaster. The first Odd 
Fellows lodge was instituted there on Christmas Eve, i860. 

The close of the year i860 saw 60,000 people in the 
Territory, 4,000 of whom were in and around Denver. 

At this juncture of time Denver was tolerably well 
favored with the three great engines of civilization, to-wit, 
schools, churches, and newspapers. There were three day 
schools, two or three newspapers, and the following church 
denominations, each with a place for holding services: 
Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal South, Roman 
Catholic, Presbyterian, and Protestant Episcopal. The 
latter denomination was well and truly cared for by the 
Rev. J. H. Kehler, who established St. John's Church in the 
wilderness, as he then called it. Therefore, to the praise of 
our pioneers let it be recorded that though then remiss in 
many of the modern enterprises, their liberality encouraged 
religion, morality, and popular education. They claimed 
that Whittier's apostrophe to Massachusetts might and 
should apply equally to Colorado in these regards: 

The riches of our commonwealth 
Are free, strong minds and hearts of health; 
And more to her than gold or grain 
The cunning hand and cultured brain. 
Nor heeds the sceptic's puny hands, 
While near the school the church-spire stands; 
Nor fears the blinded bigot's rule, 
While near the church-spire stands the school. 



The Denver of to-day, the capital of Colorado, has a 
population of 160,000, and it stands at an elevation of 
5,196 feet. 

In 1858 the Pike's Peak gold excitement caused a rush 
from the East to Colorado, and a camp was pitched at the 
junction of Cherry Creek and the Platte. From this small 
beginning sprang Denver, the " Queen City of the Plains." 
Beautiful in situation, with the great range of the Rocky 
Mountains towering in the west, and the illimitable plains 
stretching 600 miles to the Missouri River on the east, 
Denver is worthy of the attention and admiration of all 
who behold it. It is one of the greatest railroad points in 
the West, twelve railroads centering here and radiating to 
all parts of the United States, thus giving Denver almost 
unsurpassed facilities for transcontinental traffic. The 
foot-hills of the Rocky Mountains are only fourteen miles 
distant, and Long's Peak, James' Peak, Gray's Peak, and 
Pike's Peak are in plain view, connected by the gleaming 
serrated line of the Snowy Range. Parks, boulevards, 
opera houses, and costly and elegant public buildings and 
private residences are a few of the most obvious signs of 
wealth, cultivation, and luxury which are to be found in 
Colorado's capital. Among the principal places of inter- 
est may be mentioned the Tabor Grand Opera House, 
erected at a cost of $850,000, and which is the finest build- 
ing of its kind in America, having but one rival in the 
world, the Grand Opera House in Paris; the United States 



Mint; the County Court House, a most elegant and costly 
structure occupying an entire block with the buildings and 
grounds; the City Hall, University of Denver, St. Mary's 
Academy, Wolfe Hall, Trinity M. E. Church, St. John's 
Cathedral, College of the Sacred Heart, Jarvis Hall, Bap- 
tist Female College, Brown's Palace Hotel, and hotels and 
business blocks, any of which would do credit to any of the 
metropolitan cities of the East. The city has extensive 
systems of street cars, motor lines and cables, is lighted by 
gas and electricity, has excellent waterworks, a well-disci- 
plined and effective paid fire department, good police 
force, and telephone communication in the city and with 
suburban towns to the distance of 120 miles. The dis- 
covery that artesian wells can be sunk successfully has 
added much to the attractiveness of the city. The water 
is almost chemically pure, and is forced to a great 
height by hydrostatic pressure. Denver is the objective 
point for a large tourist travel, and it is estimated that 
the arrivals during the year will average 1,000 daily. The 
climate is heathful and invigorating, and invalids find this 
an excellent place to regain their health. There is always 
some pleasing attraction to divert the mind. The theaters 
are open the year round, and the best companies and stars 
from the East appear upon their boards. The churches are 
presided over by clergymen of talent and culture. The 
newspapers are metropolitan in size and management. In 
a word, Denver is one of the most pleasant residence cities 
in the world. Rapid as has been the growth of this won- 
derful city, it is evident that it is but on the threshold of 
its prosperity, and that the future holds for it much more 
and greater success than has been vouchsafed it in the past. 
Thirty-three miles south of Denver, on the Denver & 
Rio Grande Railroad, is Castle Rock. It is a picturesque 
little village, and derives its name from a bold and remark- 


able promontory which springs directly from the plain and 
under whose shadow the village stands. This promontory 
always attracts the attention of tourists, and is therefore 
worthy of special mention. 

Perry Park is situated within half an hour's drive of 
Larkspur Station, and in natural attractions has few if any 
superiors in the State. Bountifully supplied with pure and 
sparkling water, and protected on the west by the Front 
Range of mountains, it forms a quiet and romantic resting- 
place for those who wish a pleasant summer's outing free 
from the annoyances of business. The park is filled with 
many remarkable rock formations equal in unique grandeur 
to those of the better known but not more attractive Garden 
of the Gods. 

Palmer Lake is situated on the Denver & Rio Grande 
Railroad, about midway between Denver and Pueblo, the 
two principal towns of Colorado. It was formerly called 
"Divide," a very significant and appropriate title, as on the 
crest of this summit the waters divide, flowing northward 
into the Platte, which empties into the Missouri, and south- 
ward into the Arkansas as it wends its way to the 

The traveler will enjoy a most delightful variety of 
scenery. On either side are rolling plains dotted with 
numerous herds of sheep and cattle, agricultural settle- 
ments with cultivated ranches, giving evidence of enter- 
prise and thrift. Now and then we catch a glimpse of the 
river threading its way amid valleys and glens, while stretch- 
ing away in the distance the cliffs and towering peaks of 
the Snowy Range, in their dazzling whiteness, appear like 
fleecy clouds upon the horizon, and form a striking contrast 
with the blue-tinted foot-hills, which, as we near them, 
appear covered with oak shrubbery, bright flowers, castled 
rocks, scattered pines, and quaking aspen glimmering in the 


sunshine. Gradually ascending the mountain pathway we 
reach the summit (2,000 feet higher than either Denver or 
Pueblo), and entering a gap in the mountains, before us 
lies Palmer Lake. Nestled here in this mountain scenery, 
sparkling like a diamond in its emerald setting, this lake is 
a delightful surprise to the tourist — a rare and unlooked- 
for feature in the landscape. 

Glen Park, the Colorado Chautauqua, is within half a mile 
of Palmer Lake, in a charming park-like expanse between 
two mountain streamlets, and at the mouth of a beautiful 
canon, fifty-three miles from Denver. One hundred and 
fifty acres are comprised in the town site. The park is at 
the foot of the Rocky Mountain range, and is sheltered at 
the rear by a towering cliff, 2,000 feet high, and on two 
sides by small spurs of the range. A noble growth of large 
pines is scattered over the park. A skillful landscape 
engineer has taken advantage of every natural beauty, and 
studied the best topographical effect in laying out the 
streets, parks, reservoirs, drives, walks, trails, and lookout 
points. It is a spot that must be seen to be appreciated, 
and every visitor whose opinion has been learned has come 
away captivated. There are building sites for all tastes. 
Some have a grand outlook, taking in a sweep of the val- 
ley for a distance of fifty miles. 

Colorado Springs is the county seat of El Paso County, 
has a population of 12,000, and stands at an elevation of 
5,982 feet. This delightful little city is essentially one of 
homes, where the families of many of the most influential 
business men of the State reside. It is a temperance town, 
with charming society, and an elegant opera house, built as a 
place of enjoyment rather than as an investment, by some 
of the most successful citizens. There are many points of 
Scenic interest within an hour's ride of the city. Among 
! may be mentioned Cheyenne Canons, Austin's Glen, 


Blair Athol, Queen's Canon, and Glen Eyrie. No more 
delightful places can be found in which to enjoy the beau- 
tiful in nature and to breathe the health-giving and exhil- 
arating air than these mountains and Pike's Peak. There 
are a number of smaller hotels and a good supply of com- 
fortable and home-like boarding houses, in different parts 
of the town; also fine livery stables, where riding and driv- 
ing horses and carriages of the best are furnished at rea- 
sonable rates. 

Colorado City, the first Territorial capital of Colorado, 
and at present a thriving railroad town, is situated on the 
Denver & Rio Grande Railroad, midway between Colorado 
Springs and Manitou Springs, seventy-eight miles from 

Manitou Springs. Of all nature's lovely spots few equal, 
and none surpass, in beauty of location, grandeur of sur- 
roundings, and sublimity of scenery this veritable " Gem of 
the Rockies." As a pleasure resort it presents to the tour- 
ist more objects of scenic interest than any resort of a 
like character in the Old or New World; while its wonderful 
effervescent and mineral springs, soda and iron, make it the 
favorite resting-place for invalids. The great superiority 
of Manitou's climate is found in its dryness and the even 
temperature the year round. In summer the cool breezes 
from the mountains temper the heat, the nights always being 
cool enough to allow that refreshing sleep so grateful to all 
and most needed by the invalid. 

There are more points of interest near Manitou than any 
other watering place in the world. The following is a par- 
tial list, with the distances in miles from town attached: 


Ruxton Creek to Iron Springs and Hotel i 

Ute Pass to Rainbow Falls and Grand Cavern, i^ 
Red Canon 3 



Crystal Park 3 

Garden of the Gods 3 

Glen Eyrie 5 

Monument Park by trail 7^ 

Monument Park by carriage 9 

Seven Lakes by horse trail 9 

Seven Lakes by carriage road 12 

North Cheyenne Canon 8£ 

South Cheyenne Canon 9 

Summit of Pike's Peak 12 

In addition to these well-known localities there are scores 
of canons, caves, waterfalls, and charming nooks which the 
sojourner for health or pleasure can seek out for himself. 

The Garden of the Gods has been described and pho- 
tographed more than any other place of scenic interest in 
Colorado, but words or pictures fail to give even the 
faintest idea of its wealth of gorgeous color, or of the 
noble view which its gateway frames. The portals of the 
gateway spring from the level plain to a height of 330 
feet, and glow with the most brilliant coloring of red. 
There is an outer parapet of pure white, and there are 
inner columns of varied hues, the whole suggesting the 
ruins of a vast temple, once the receptacle of the sacred 
shrine of the long-buried gods. Within the garden the 
rocks assume strange mimetic forms, and the imagination 
of the spectator is kept busy discovering resemblances to 
beasts or birds, of men and women, and of strange freaks 
in architecture. 

Glen Eyrie is situated at the entrance to Queen's 
Canon, and is a wild and romantic retreat, in which is 
built the summer residence of a gentleman of wealth, 
whose permanent home is now in the East. Within the 
glen, which is made sylvan by thickly growing native 


shrubbery, covered with wild clematis, are a great confu- 
sion of enormous pillars of exquisite tinted pink sand- 

Cathedral Rock and the Major Domo, which have 
gained a world-wide fame through pictures and descrip- 
tions, are to be found in Glen Eyrie, as are also " The 
Sisters," "Vulcan's Anvil," and " Melrose Abbey." These 
are all grand and impressive shapes of stone glowing with 
the most brilliant hues of red and pink, and cream and 
white, and umber. 

Blair Athol is about a mile north of Glen Eyrie, and resem- 
bles the latter, with the exception of shrubbery and water. 
No residence has been erected here, as the difficulty of ob- 
taining water has been too great to be successfully over- 
come. The quaint forms of rock and their brilliant color, 
together with the frequent shade of evergreen trees, make 
this an interesting and attractive spot. 

Bear Creek Canon is reached by taking the road to 
Colorado Springs and turning to the right just before 
reaching Colorado City. This is a beautiful drive of five 
miles, at the end of which the Government trail to Pike's 
Peak carries the horseman and footman to the summit. 
The canon is a picturesque wooded glen, with a dashing 
torrent and abounding in wild flowers. Bears are still 
frequently seen here, but they shrink modestly from forc- 
ing their attention upon strangers, and retire precipitately 
when made aware of the vicinity of callers. 

The Cheyenne Canons are favorite resorts for picnic 
and pleasure parties. Both these canons give one a good 
idea of the gorges which abound in the fastnesses of the 
Rocky Mountains. They are deep gashes in the heart of 
Cheyenne Mountain, and display grand faces of magnifi- 
cent red granite hundreds of feet in height. The Doug- 
las spruce, the Rocky Mountain pine, the white spruce, and 


that most lovely tree of all, the Picca grandis, grow in 
great numbers in both canons, while the Virginia creeper, 
two species of clematis (mauve and white), and other 
climbers add grace and charm to the scene. A stairway 
at the Seven Falls in South Canon leads to the last resting 
place of " H. H." (Helen Hunt Jackson), who selected this 
spot for her grave. The stream in North Cheyenne Canon 
is larger than that in the southern gorge, but the latter 
forms a magnificent cascade, descending 500 feet in seven 

Seven Falls is the name given to the cascade referred to 
above, and it is well worthy the admiration its beauty 
always excites. 

The Cheyenne Mountain toll-road is well worth seeing. 
It ascends the mountains about one-half mile south of the 
entrance to South Cheyenne Canon, winding, with easy 
grades, through very fine scenery, and at times affording 
glimpses down in the canon below. 

The Seven Lakes are reached by means of the last de- 
scribed road. The lakes are picturesque, and such sheets 
of water usually are among the mountains, and there is a 
hotel for the accommodation of visitors. 

"My Garden " is a very favorite resort, discovered by 
" H. H.," the authoress and poet. Take the Cheyenne 
road one and one-half miles from Colorado Springs, then 
follow due south past Broad Moor Dairy Farm half a 
mile, then through a gate across the " Big Hollow," and 
" My Garden " is reached, a lovely pine grove crowning 
the plateau, with an exquisite view of the range behind it. 

Monument Park, Edgerton Station, sixty-seven miles 
south from Denver and eight miles northward from Colo- 
rado Springs and Manitou, is a pleasant day's excursion. 
"The Pines" is a comfortable hotel, situated in the cen- 
ter of the park, one-half mile from the depot, commanding 


a fine view of Pike's Peak and Cheyenne Mountain Range; 
is open at all times for the accommodation of guests, and 
can furnish saddle-horses and carriages on premises. This 
park is chiefly remarkable for its very fantastic forms, in 
which time and the action of air and water have worn the 
cream-colored sandstone rocks which the valleys have ex- 
posed, forming grotesque groups of figures, some of them 
resembling human beings, viz.: Dutch Wedding, Quaker 
Meeting, Lone Sentinel, Dutch Parliament, Vulcan's An- 
vil and Workshop, Romeo and Juliet, Necropolis, or Silent 
City, The Duchess, Mother Judy, and Colonnade. All of 
these, and many others too numerous to mention, are 
within easy walking distance of " The Pines." 

A very pleasant drive can be taken to Templeton's Gap, 
which is situated just north of Austin's Bluffs, and is a 
sharp depression in the surrounding hills, characterized by 
quaint monumental forms of rock. 

Ute Pass leads westward from Manitou over the range 
into South Park. It is now a wagon road cut in many 
places from the face of the cliff, the rocks towering thou- 
sands of feet above it on one side and on the other present- 
ing a sheer descent of nearly as many feet down to where 
the fountain brawls along over its rugged channel. The 
pass was formerly used as a pony trail by the Ute Indians 
in their descent to the plains and in their visits to the " Big 
Medicine" of the healing springs — the name given Mani- 
tou by the aborigines. No pleasanter ride or drive can be 
taken than up Ute Pass. The scenery is grand and the 
view one of great loveliness. 

Rainbow Falls are only a mile and a half from Manitou 
up the Pass, and are well worthy of a visit. They are the 
most accessible and the most beautiful on the eastern slope 
of the Rocky Mountains, and are visited by thousands of 
tourists every season. 


The Great Manitou Caverns have added an attractive 
feature to the diversified wonders of nature surrounding 
Manitou Springs. The caverns are located one and a half 
miles from Manitou Springs. They were discovered by 
their present owner, Mr. George W. Snider, in the year 1881, 
but were only opened to the public in 1885. 

The cog-wheel railroad to the summit of Pike's Peak, 
which was completed and put in operation in July, 1891, is 
the most novel railway in the world. When it reaches its 
objective point above the clouds, at a height of 14,147 feet 
above sea-level, it renders almost insignificant by compari- 
son the famous cog-way up Mount Washington and the 
incline railway up the Rhigi in Switzerland. From its 
station in Manitou, just above the Iron Springs, to the 
station on the summit of Pike's Peak, the Manitou & 
Pike's Peak Railway is just eight and three-quarters miles 
in length. The cost of construction of the road was a half 
million dollars. While it could have been built for many 
thousands of dollars less by putting in wooden bridges and 
trestles, light ties and light rails, those in charge of the 
building of the road would not consent to the use of any 
flimsy material for the sake of saving any sum of money — 
a substantial road that would insure absolute safety being 
economical, as well as a guarantee for putting the road 
from the start on a paying basis. The road-bed is solid 
and from fifteen to twenty feet wide, leaving fully five feet 
on each side of the cars. The culverts are solid masonry; 
the four short bridges are of iron girders resting on first- 
class masonry. There are an extra number of ties, which 
are extra heavy and extra long. The rails are standard 
" T " rails, with a double cog rail in the center. This cog 
rail weighs no tons to the mile, which is unusually heavy. 
The rail is built in sections, each being put into a lathe 
and the teeth cut. The contract requires that each tooth 



shall be within the fifteenth part of an inch of the size 
specified. At intervals of every 200 feet the track is 
anchored to solid masonry to prevent any possibility of the 
track slipping from its bed. The cars are designed to 
hang low, within eighteen inches of the rails. Each 
engine built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works has three 
cog and pinion appliances, which can be worked together 
or independently. In each cog appliance is a double set 
of pinion brakes that work in the cog, either one of which 
when used can stop the engine in ten inches, going either 
way, on any grade and at the maximum speed, eight miles 
an hour. The cars are not tilted, but the seats are arranged 
so as to give the passenger a level sitting. The engine 
pushes the cars instead of drawing them, which is of great 
advantage. And such is Denver to-day, and its attractive 
surroundings, changed from a border wilderness to civil- 
ization and grandeur within thirty years. 



It may not be amiss just here, while writing of this 
" Land of the Setting Sun," its changes from savagery to 
civilization, to refer to one who has done so much to aid 
those who followed the Star of Empire toward the Rocky 

I refer to Col. W. F. Cody, known in almost every hamlet 
of the world as Buffalo Bill, one upon whom the seal of 
manhood has been set as upon few others, who has risen 
by the force of his own gigantic will, his undaunted cour- 
age, ambition, and genius, to be honored among the rulers 
of kingdoms, as well as by his own people. 

Nearly forty years ago, in Kansas, a handsome, wiry 
little lad came to me, accompanied by his good mother, and 
said that he had her permission to take a position under 
me as a messenger boy. 

I gave him the place, though it was one of peril, carry- 
ing dispatches between our wagon-trains upon the march 
across the plains, and little did I then suspect that I was 
just starting out in life one who was destined to win fame 
and fortune. 

Then it was simply "Little Billy Cody," the messenger, 
and from his first year in my service he began to make his 
mark, and lay the foundation of his future greatness. 

Next it became " Wild Will," the pony express rider of 
the overland, and as such he faced many dangers, and over- 
came many obstacles which would have crushed a less 
strong nature and brave heart. 



Then it became " Bill Cody, the Wagonmaster," then 
overland stage driver, and from that to guide across the 
plains, until he drifted into his natural calling as a Govern- 
ment scout. 

"Buffalo Bill, the Scout and Indian Fighter," was known 
from north to south, from east to west, for his skill, energy, 
and daring as a ranger of mountain and plain. 

AVith the inborn gift of a perfect borderman, Buffalo 
Bill led armies across trackless mountains and plains, 
through deserts of death, and to the farthest retreats of the 
cruel redskins who were making war upon the settlers. 

Buffalo Bill has never sought the reputation of being a 
"man killer." 

He has shunned difficulties of a personal nature, yet never 
backed down in the face of death in the discharge of duty. 

Brought face to face with the worst elements of the 
frontier, he never sought the title of hero at the expense of 
other lives and suffering. 

An Indian fighter, he was yet the friend of the redskin 
in many ways, and to-day there is not a man more respected 
among all the fighting tribes than Buffalo Bill, though he 
is feared as well. 

In his delineation of Wild West life before the vast 
audiences he has appeared to in this country and Europe, 
he has been instrumental in educating the Indians to feel 
that it would be madness for them to continue the struggle 
against the innumerable whites, and to teach them that 
peace and happiness could come to them if they would 
give up the war-path and the barbarism of the past, and 
seek for themselves homes amid civilized scenes and 

Buffalo Bill is therefore a great teacher among his red 
friends, and he has done more good than any man I know 
who has lived among them. 


Courtly by nature, generous to a fault, big-hearted and 
brainy, full of gratitude to those whom he feels indebted 
to, he has won his way in the world and stands to-day as 
truly one of Nature's noblemen. 

One of the strongest characteristics of Buffalo Bill, to 
my mind, was his love for his mother — a mother most 
worthy the devotion of such a son. His love and devotion 
to his sisters has also been marked throughout his lifetime. 

When he first came to me he had to sign the pay-roll 
each month by making the sign of a cross, his mark. He 
drew a man's pay, and earned every dollar of it. 

He always had his mother come to get his pay, and when 
one day he was told by the paymaster to come and " make 
his mark and get his money," his face flushed as he saw 
tears come into his mother's eyes and heard her low uttered 

"Oh, Willie! if you would only learn to write, how 
happy I would be." 

Educational advantages in those early days were crude 
in the extreme, and Little Billy's chances to acquire knowl- 
edge were few, but from that day, when he saw the tears in 
his mother's eyes at his inability to write his name, he began 
to study hard and to learn to write; in fact his acquiring 
the art of penmanship got him into heaps of trouble, as 
" Will Cody," " Little Billy," " Billy the Boy Messenger," 
and "William Frederic Cody" were written with the burnt 
end of a stick upon tents, wagon-covers, and all tempting 
places, while he carved upon wagon-body, ox-yoke, and 
where he could find suitable wood for his pen-knife to cut 
into, the name he would one day make famous. 

With such energy as this on his part, Billy Cody was not 
very long in learning to write his name upon the pay-roll 
instead of making his mark, though ever since, I may add, 
he has made his mark in the pages of history. 


All through his life he was ever the devoted son and 
brother, and true as steel to his friends, for he has not been 
spoiled by the fame he has won, while to-day his firmest 
friends are the officers of the army with whom he has 
served through dangers and hardships untold, as proof of 
which he was freely given the indorsements of such men 
as Sherman, Sheridan, Gen. Nelson A. Miles, Generals Carr, 
Merritt, Royal, and a host of others. 



From the dawn of history to the present time, civiliza- 
tion has followed the valleys. From the Garden of Eden 
which was in the valley of the Euphrates to modern times 
the water courses have been the highways of civilization, 
and made the Tiber and the Thames, the Rhine and the 
Rhone famous in the annals of the world's progress. In 
our own country this fact has been especially illustrated. 
The valley of the Rio Grande del Norte was the pathway 
of the Spaniard in his march to the northward, and it is 
one of the curious facts of history that, before the Pilgrims 
had landed on Plymouth Rock, the adventurous cavaliers 
of Spain had penetrated the center of the continent and 
discovered the sources of the great river in the Sangre de 
Cristo Mountains of Colorado. 

It was along the Connecticut and the Hudson, the Dela- 
ware and the Susquehanna, the Ohio and the Mississippi, 
that the pioneers of the republic pushed their way west- 
ward and planted the civilization which has enjoyed so 
substantial and prosperous a growth. And when the pio- 
neer resumed his westward march to the Rocky Mountains, 
his trains lay along the Missouri, the Arkansas, and the 
Platte, thus giving to the valley of the Platte an historic 
place in the records of the nation's advancement. 

The Louisiana Purchase, within whose boundaries lay 
the great valley of the Platte and its tributaries, was com- 
pleted in 1804, by President Thomas Jefferson. It was an 
act of statesmanship worthy of the man who had drafted 



the Declaration of Independence, and assured the young 
republic a future little dreamed of by the men of that day, 
but which we have lived to realize. Two years later, in 
1806, Lieut. Zebulon Pike received an order to explore the 
newly acquired national possessions, and to find the head- 
waters of the Platte River. In pursuance of the order, 
Lieutenant Pike marched up the Arkansas to the Fount- 
aine Qui Bouille, discovered and ascended the great peak 
which bears his name, entering the South Park from the 
present site of Canon City by the Current Creek route. 
Aside from his discovery of the headwaters of the Platte, 
Lieutenant Pike's expedition was more largely devoted to 
the Arkansas and the Rio Grande than to this valley. 

The second expedition up the Platte Valley was ordered 
in 1819 by John C. Calhoun, Secretary of War for Presi- 
dent James Monroe, and was under the command of Major 
Stephen S. Long, of the corps of topographical engineers. 
Leaving Pittsburg, Pa., in April, 1819, Major Long pro- 
ceeded westward and established his camp near the pres- 
ent site of Council Bluffs, Iowa, to which was given the 
name of Engineer Cantonment. Thence on June 6, 1820, 
with a number of scientists and a small detail of regular 
troops, he marched toward the mountains. On June 30th 
the party sighted the magnificent range of the Rocky Mount- 
ains, a view of which burst upon them in the full glory of 
the morning light. On July 3d they passed, as Long's 
annals read, " the mouth of three large creeks, heading in 
the mountains and entering the Platte from the northwest." 
These were undoubtedly the Cache la Poudre, the Thomp- 
son, and the St. Vrain. On July 5th they camped on the 
present site of Fort Lupton, and on July 6th on the present 
site of Denver, at the mouth of Cherry Creek. Thence the 
party followed the valley to the Platte Canon, and, proceed- 
ing southward along the base of the mountains, returned 
eastward along the Arkansas. 


Twenty-two years later, in 1842, came Lieut. John C. 
Fremont, the famous pathfinder, who traversed the Blue 
toward the Platte, reaching the valley at Grand Island, a 
portion of the party going up the North Fork toward Fort 
Laramie, and the larger part marching up the South Fork 
to Fort St. Vrain, which had then been established a num- 
ber of years, and had become a noted rendezvous for trap- 
pers, hunters, and plainsmen. The following year the 
intrepid explorer left St. Louis on his second expedition, 
traveling the valleys of the Kaw and the Republican, 
reaching the Platte at the mouth of Beaver Creek, and 
arriving at Fort St. Vrain on July 4, 1843. I quote the 
words of Lieutenant Fremont as prophetic of the future of 
the valley. " This post," he says, " was beginning to 
assume the appearance of a comfortable farm. Stock, 
hogs and cattle, were ranging about the prairie. There 
were different kinds of poultry and there was the wreck of 
a promising garden in which a considerable variety of veg- 
etables had been in a flourishing condition, but had been 
almost entirely ruined by recent high water." 

Between the dates of the expeditions of Long and Fre- 
mont three noted trading posts had been established along 
the Platte in the immediate vicinity of the spot on which 
we are now assembled. The first of these was Fort Van- 
quez, built by Louis Vanquez in 1832, at the mouth of 
Clear Creek, then known as Vanquez Fork of the Platte. 
The next was Fort Lupton, a portion of whose walls are 
still standing, and the third was Fort St. Vrain, built in 1840. 
These forts, as they were called, were trading posts at which 
a large traffic in skins and furs was conducted, and which 
became the headquarters of such famous frontiersmen as 
Kit Carson, Jim Bridger, Jim Baker, Jim Beckwouth, and 
others, who in those days constituted the vedettes of the 
civilization of the country. I have not time to dwell upon 


their exploits, but I note their names as indicating that we 
stand upon historic ground, and that here in this valley were 
planted the first germs of the prosperous growth which 
to-day enfolds it in every department of its social, industrial, 
and commercial life. 

In 1847 the Platte Valley became the highway of the 
Mormons in their exodus from Illinois to Utah. Two 
years later its trails were broadened by the California 
pioneers en route to the shores of the Pacific to share in 
the golden discoveries of Sutter and his companions. 

In 1857 came the expedition of Col. Albert Sidney 
Johnston marching to Utah to sustain the laws and authority 
of the United States. 

But a greater movement was now organizing to traverse 
and possess the valley of the Platte. In the fullness of 
time the crisis of its destiny had arrived. The year of 
1859 dawned upon a nation fast drifting into the vortex of 
a civil war. The irrepressible conflict which for half a 
century had been going on between free and slave labor 
was nearing the arbitrament of arms, and absorbed all men's 
minds to the exclusion of events which were happening on 
the distant frontier. In the summer of 1858 Green Russell 
and a party of adventurous prospectors had discovered 
gold in Cherry Creek, a tributary of the Platte. The news 
spread, and grew as it spread, until the people living along 
the Missouri, which was then the frontier of the Republic, 
became excited over the richness of the discoveries. 

They were ripe for adventure, desperate almost in their 
determination to reestablish the fortunes that had been 
wrecked by the financial panic of 1857, which had swept 
with disastrous effect along the entire borderland of the 
entire nation. In the spring of 1859 the march of the 
pioneers began. The Platte Valley was their grand path- 
way to the mountains, whose summits they greeted with 


exultant joy, and beneath whose protecting shadows they 
camped; here to make their homes, here to lay the founda- 
tions of the future State. 

Thus in a little over half a century from the date of 
its purchase by the Federal Government, the Platte Valley 
had become the home of civilized man, and the work of its 
development begun. As gold was first discovered in this 
valley, so was quartz mining first begun on one of the 
tributaries in Gilpin County. 

The first pioneer's cabin was erected in Denver; the 
first school-house was built at Boulder; the first church was 
consecrated at Denver; the first colony located at Greeley, 
and the first irrigating ditches taken out, all within the 
Platte Valley. As the valley had been the route of Major 
Long and other of the early explorers, so, following in the 
train of the pioneer, came first the pony express, then the 
stage-coach, then the locomotive and the Pullman car. And 
it is a fact which I believe has never yet been published, 
that the last stage-coach of the great overland line was dis- 
patched from the town of Brighton to Denver, thus asso- 
ciating its name with an act, insignificant in itself, but far- 
reaching in its importance, when it is remembered that that 
act marked the end of our pioneer period and ushered in 
the new growth of the railroad era. 

We stand to-day at the distance of three-fourths of a 
century from the date when the foot of the while man first 
trod the valley of the Platte. The names of Pike and Long 
are perpetuated by the two magnificent peaks which raise 
their summits to the clouds and stand as guardians of the 
plains below. Fremont lived to see his wildest dreams 
realized in the progress of the West, but whatever fame he 
may have achieved as a soldier and a statesman, his name 
will longest be remembered as the pathfinder of the Rocky 
Mountains. Wheat-fields now flourish where once stood 


the trading-posts of Vanquez and St. Vrain. The trails of 
the early explorers and of the pioneers of 1859 are almost 
obliterated, and grass is growing upon their once broad and 
beaten pathways. A happy, contented, prosperous people 
possess the land. A great line of railway now rolls the 
traffic of a continent along the valley where once the stage- 
coach and ox-trains of Russell, Majors & Waddell 
wended their slow and weary way. Thriving towns and 
villages and cities dot the plain, and reflect in the activity 
of their commercial life the industrial development by 
which they are surrounded. 



In August, 1838, there appeared in the far West a news- 
paper published at Liberty, in Clay County, Missouri, the 
only newspaper within many miles, a notice which read as 
follows: "Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri, at 
Independence, August term, 1838." Then followed a 
description of lands now included in what is known as the 
"old town" of Kansas City. Then continues: "Theabove 
mentioned lands are situated in the county of Jackson, one 
and one-half miles below the mouth of the Kansas River, 
and five miles from the flourishing town of Westport. The 
situation is admirably calculated for a ferry across the 
Missouri River, and also one of the best steamboat land- 
ings on the river, and an excellent situation for a ware- 
house or town site. The terms of sale will be a credit of 
twelve months, the purchaser giving bond and approved 
security, with interest at the rate of 10 per cent from day 
of sale. All those wishing to invest capital advantage- 
ously in landed estate will do well to call upon Justice H. 
McGee, who is guardian for the heirs. 

"James B. Davenport, 
"Peter Booth, 
"Elliott Johnson, 

" Commissioners." 
The purchasers were William L. Sublette, John C. 
McCoy, William Gillis, Robert Campbell, and others, and 
the price paid for the entire tract, extending along the 
Missouri River from Broadway to Troost Avenue, contain- 
ing 156 acres, was $4,220. 



These gentlemen put their purchase into lots and blocks 
and called it " Kansas," but very little was done toward 
founding a city until some eight years later, when a new 
company was organized by H. M. Northup, who is still 
living; John C. McCoy, who died within the past few 
months; Fry P. McGee, Jacob Ragan, William Gillis, 
Robert Campbell, who have been dead but a few years 
respectively; Henry Jobe, W. B. Evans, and W. M. Chick, 
who have been dead much longer. 

The first sale of lots was had in April, 1848, at which 
sale 150 lots were sold at an average price of $55.65 per 

The business of the city was confined almost entirely, for 
a number of years, to the levee, and was of the general 
character of that done in all river towns in their early his- 
tory, pretty rough, pretty miscellaneous, and not altogether 
unmixed with " wet goods." Prohibition was an unknown 
element in social science, and the proportion of whisky 
consumed in the retail trade, compared with that of tea or 
coffee, was very like that described by Shakespeare in 
referring to Falstaff's " intolerable deal of sack to the half 
penny worth of bread." But very few men of those days 
remain nowadays; yet, as I have said, H. M. Northup still 
lives, vigorous and active. Dr. I. M. Ridge still continues 
to practice his profession, although less extensively than 
forty years ago. John Campbell traverses our streets, but 
has long since turned his well-known and faithful old sor- 
rel mule out to grass. William Mulkey looks hale and 
hearty, but has discarded his former buckskin suit, though 
he still maintains a portion of his farm in the center of the 
city. Once in a long while one of the old French settlers 
of those early days, or even an old plainsman, ventures into 
the busy city and looks about him in a bewildered sort of 
way for a day or two, and then disappears again into the 


nearest wilderness or prairie, as being far more congenial 
to his tastes and habits of life. Not all of them, however, 
are of this character and disposition. It is but a few weeks 
since I met one of our most noted pioneer plainsmen and 
freighters across the prairies of Kansas, Colorado, and 
New Mexico, in the earliest of the days I have been speak- 
ing of. In those times no name was better or more widely 
known than that of Seth E. Ward, the post trader at 

The descendants of most cf the original owners of the 
"Town of Kansas," as it was first called, or "Westport 
Landing," as it was nicknamed later, still remain there, and 
are among its most prominent and respected citizens 

Ten years later the " western fever " struck Ohio, and 
hundreds of young men of my acquaintance left there for 
Kansas and Nebraska. Omaha was a favorite objective 
point, and a town named Columbus was founded still far- 
ther west than Omaha, which was almost entirely colonized 
by people from Franklin County, Ohio. One of my friends, 
Dr. Theodore S. Case, also holding the rank of colonel, was 
studying medicine at the time In Columbus, Ohio, and 
resisted the fever until the following year, 1857, when, with 
a few books and a sheepskin authorizing him to write M. D. 
after his name, and to commit manslaughter without being 
called to account for it, started for the West. He knew 
nothing of the West, but had a general idea that he would 
go to St. Louis, or Keokuk, or Des Moines, or Omaha, or 
Council Bluffs, or possibly to "Carson City," Kan.; for a 
sharper, originally from Columbus, had been out West and 
came back with a lithographic map of a city by that name, 
fixed up very attractively, and with all the modern improve- 
ments of court house, city hall, depots, churches, colleges, 
steamboats, etc., and he bought some $15 worth of lots on 


one of the principal thoroughfares of the city not far from 
the depot. However, before he got as far west as St. 
Louis, he had learned the manners and tricks of such gen- 
try, and did not go to " Carson City." By some accidental 
circumstance his attention was called particularly to the 
geographical location of Kansas City, and he at once deter- 
mined to give it a look anyhow. There being no railroad 
nearer than Jefferson City at that time, he took the steamer 
Minnehaha at St. Louis, along with some other 299 fellows 
who were going " out west to grow up with the country," 
and four days afterward landed at Kansas City, May 1, 
1857, almost thirty-five years ago. 

The first view of Kansas City was by no means prepos- 
sessing, as it consisted principally of a line of shabby look- 
ing brick and frame warehouses, dry-goods stores, grocer- 
ies, saloons, restaurants, etc., strung along the levee from 
Wyandotte Street to a little east of Walnut Street, the 
whole backed up and surmounted by a rugged and pre- 
cipitous bluff, from 100 to 150 feet high, covered with old 
dead trees, brush, dog fennel and jimson weeds, with an 
occasional frame or log house scattered between and among 
them, and a few women and children, principally darkies, 
looking down at the boats. 

To a young man, however, the levee, with its three or 
four steamers, huge piles of Mexican freight, prairie schoon- 
ers, mules, greasers, Indians, negroes, mud clerks, roust- 
abouts, Frenchmen, consignees, emigrants, old settlers, ten- 
derfeet, hotel drummers, brass bands, omnibuses, etc., pre- 
sented attractions not easily resisted. Notwithstanding all 
the tooting for hotels, there were really but two in the 
place, one on the levee, then known as the American Hotel, 
now remembered more familiarly as the " Gillis House," 
and the other the " Farmers' Hotel," on Grand Avenue, 
between Sixteenth and Seventeenth streets. The first was 


technically known as the " Free State Hotel," having been 
built by the New England Aid Emigrant Society, and the 
other as the " Pro-Slavery," or " Border Ruffian House," as 
it was or had been the headquarters of the pro-slavery 
party in the border war of 1854 and 1856 between the free 
state and pro-slavery contestants for the possession of 
political control of the Territory of Kansas. 

All travelers, however, who knew the ropes dodged both 
these hotels and took the omnibus for Westport, where two 
really good hotels were kept. To show the amount of 
travel toward Kansas at that time I may say that at the 
American Hotel alone there were 27,000 arrivals in the 
year 1856-57. 

Such was Kansas City in early days and the experience 
there of a tenderfoot, but now an honored citizen of what 
is really to-day a great city. 




Many an Eastern city has more dead people than living. 
Instead of the West being young, the East is growing old. 
The antiquities of the Eastern cemetery are often more in- 
teresting to the Westerner than the life and energy of the 
living city. How the old names of Concurrence, Patience, 
Charity, Eunice, Virtue, Experience, Prudence, Jerusha, 
Electra, Thankful, Narcissa, Mercy, Wealthy, Joanna, Me- 
hitable, on the tombstones of the old Puritan grandmoth- 
ers have been supplanted by the new names of these 
modern times! And the old-time giandfathers — well, their 
names suggest a scriptural chapter on genealogy. These 
old-time names, with quaint and queer epitaphs, on less pre- 
tentious monuments than the costly ones now erected, make 
an interesting study, for the ancient dates and names 
show that the cemetery has a history from the earliest 
settlement. The ancestral bones from the Mayflower down 
to the present have been saved. It is true that the great 
Western cities now have costly, beautiful, and often mag- 
nificent monuments for the dead, for the modern cemetery 
is becoming aristocratic. 

But for the reason it might be considered almost a sacri- 
lege, the model of a typical New England graveyard, with 
its odd names and quaint epitaphs, would be an interest- 
ing historical study at the World's Fair. In fact it would 
be as much of a curiosity to millions of people in the 
West as Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show was in the East. 

In all the cities of the West there are more live people 



than dead ones, which is not always true of the East, 
where the cemetery population is often larger. With the 
exception of some of the old Spanish mission cemeteries, 
those of the West are all new, unless one would wish to 
explore the ancient homes of the mound-builders and cliff- 
dwellers. A white man's graveyard is a new thing for 
the West. There are many thousands among the 17,000,- 
000 people west of the Mississippi River who can tell of 
the days when Kansas City, Omaha, St. Paul, Minneapolis, 
Denver, Salt Lake, Galveston, Dallas, Helena, San Fran- 
cisco, Portland, and Seattle hardly had a cemetery. Even 
St. Louis and New Orleans have been American cities less 
than a century. 

But during all this time many millions have been added 
to the silent cities of the dead in the East, and the older 
the cemetery the more there is to it that is new to a West- 
ern tourist. One born in the West, on making his first trip 
to the East, finds almost as much of interest in a New En- 
gland burial-ground, and often views it with as little rever- 
ence as does the Bostonian in gazing upon the mummies 
and antiquities of Egypt. 

It is interesting to contrast the frontier funeral and burial- 
ground in the West with that of the East. The cemetery, the 
necessary but last adjunct to the organization of a civilized 
community, follows in the wake of immigration and empire. 
No monuments mark the last resting-place of those buried 
in the first five great cemeteries in the far West. They are 
in the region of nameless and unknown graves. 

Those five historic cemeteries, where thousands from the 
East and South died and fill unknown graves, are the Mis- 
souri River, and the Santa F<§, Oregon, California, and 
Pike's Peak trails. The trans-Alleghany, and later the 
trans-Mississippi pioneers, followed, in the main, the water- 
courses. There was no prairie-farming, and hence the 


term, " backwoodsman." It was a kind of a Yankee trick in 
the West, in later years, to leave the forests and begin plow- 
ing the prairies, and save the time that had been hitherto 
used in log-rolling and clearing the river-bottoms for agri- 
culture. The early trappers, hunters, and fur dealers fol- 
lowed up the Missouri River and its tributaries. Only with 
great difficulty could a corpse be concealed from wolves and 
coyotes, the latter animal always having been known as the 
hyena of the plains country. Hence many an old hunter, 
when far from the borderland of civilization, has buried 
his "pard " in the Missouri River! Landsmen and plains- 
men with a seaman's burial — a watery grave! The body 
wrapped in a blanket — when the blanket could be spared — 
and tied to rocks and boulders, was lowered from the drift- 
ing canoe into the " Big Muddy," as that river is com- 
monly known in the West. Many an old hunter and trap- 
per has been buried in the mighty rushing waters of the 
great Western river, even as the faithful followers of De 
Soto lowered his remains into the bosom of the Missis- 
sippi. When it was necessary or convenient to bury the 
dead on land, the greatest precaution was taken to protect 
the body from wolves and coyotes, which were especially 
dangerous and ravenous when off of the trail of the buffalo. 
Rocks and large pieces of timber were placed on the 
newly made grave, but often these hyenas of the plains 
could be seen scratching and growling at this debris be- 
fore the comrades of the dead man were out of sight. 
With these facts so well known, it is not strange that 
many in those early days preferred a burial in the rivers 
to that of the land. It seems almost paradoxical to thus 
find in the old trapper some of the instincts and traditions 
of the sailor. Far out on the plains cactus was often put 
in the grave, just over the corpse, as a protection against 
the wolves and coyotes. 


The earlier expeditions starting from St. Louis went up the 
Mississippi a few miles, to the mouth of the Missouri River, 
and then followed the latter stream. For some time the old 
Boone's Lick country, now known as Howard County, Mo., 
and Old Franklin, was the frontier commercial head. 

The town of Old Franklin, where was the original 
terminus of the old Santa F6 trail, when Kit Carson was 
only an apprentice to a saddler and harness-maker, is now 
the bottom of the Missouri River, for there a current of 
seven miles an hour has cut away the old town site. 

But the pioneers became bolder. Instead of following 
the river they began to venture out from St. Louis overland, 
about the time of the old Boone's Lick settlement. It was 
considered a brave and hazardous journey to start from St. 
Louis overland in those days, for it was a village town, and 
all of the country to the west was a wilderness. It was about 
the year 1808 that the Workman and Spencer party started 
from St. Louis, and far out on the plains, before reaching 
the Rocky Mountains, one of the party sickened and died. 

The Indians rendered what assistance they could in 
bringing herbs and such crude medicines as they used for 
fevers. The poor fellow died, and they dug for him a 
grave, which was among the first, if not the first, burial of 
a white man on the great plains of the West. 

It was a novel sight for the Indians to see the hunters 
and trappers wrap up their dead comrade in a blanket, and 
put the body into a deep hole they had dug. They piled 
up brush and what heavy things they could find, and 
placed on the grave, carved his name in rude letters, and 
went on their way. But they had hardly resumed their 
journey before the wolves began to dig at the grave. 

Were it not foreign to the purpose of this article, it 
would be interesting to relate at some length the fate of 
this expedition. The most of the party were slain in battles 


with the Indians, and Workman and Spencer are reported 
to have gone through the grand canons of the Colorado River 
to California in 1809, but that remarkable feat is discredited 
by some, leaving honors easier with Major Powell, whose 
expedition through these canons was in more modern times. 

This lonely and desolate grave dug by the Workman and 
Spencer party is supposed to have been somewhere in what 
is now Kansas or Nebraska. It was the beginning of 
making graves on the plains and in the mountains, but 
time, wind, rain, and sand made them unknown. 

Many thousands perished on the old-time trails to Santa 
Fe, the Rocky Mountains, and the Pacific Coast. Expos- 
ure, sickness, thirst, starvation, and massacre were the 
dangers the immigrants had to face. Many of their graves 
were marked with slabs, but the inscription was soon 
effaced. These graves are as unknown in the great ocean 
of plain, prairie, and mountain as though the pioneer dead 
had been buried at sea. 

The most fatal days was when the cholera raged on the 
Western trails. Sometimes an entire train would be stricken 
and the captain would be compelled to corral the wagons 
until aid could be obtained from other caravans on the 
desert, then so called, or the teamsters recovered to con- 
tinue the journey. Women sometimes helped to dig the 
graves and assisted in burying the dead, and have then 
taken the dead teamster's place at the wagon, driving the 
oxen until men could be employed. 

With the opening of the Western trails for wagons, a 
larger number were buried in boxes made from rude pieces 
of lumber, or sometimes a part of the sideboard of the 
wagon was utilized for that purpose. The earlier expedi- 
tions were on horseback, and hence at that time the best 
that could be done would be to roll the body in a blanket. 
Only those in the East who have seen a burial at sea, 


although they may never have been on the plains, can 
realize the sadness and desolation of those who left their 
friends in the nameless graves of the old-time American 
desert. Many of the babies lived that were born on the 
California and Oregon trails, but the saddest of all was 
when the pioneer mother and babe were added to the 
thousands of nameless graves. The death-couch was a 
pile of straw and a few blankets in an old freight wagon. 
If the angels ever hover over the dying, there never would 
have been a more appropriate place for their ministrations. 
Nameless graves! Unknown! Only the drifting sands 
and the ceaseless flow of the mighty Western rivers know 
the place of their nameless dead. These are the famous 
cemeteries of the far West. There are no granite shafts 
or beautiful emblems carved in marble. Heroic men and 
women! They died unknown to fame and honor, but they 
gave their lives that a new civilization and a new empire 
might be born in the far West. The brave men, North and 
South, who fell in battle, have their graves marked 
" unknown " when they could not be identified, but no one 
knows where sleep the thousands who died on these trails. 
Even a slab to the " unknown " could not be placed, for 
who knows the grave? Farm-houses, fertile fields, cities 
and towns, and the rushing railway car now mark the 
spot. The path of civilization and the rapid building of 
empire in the West is their only living monument. 

During the cholera days there was a heavy loss of life 
on the Western steamboats. On the Missouri River some 
of the old boats had a burial crew. At night-time, when 
the passengers were hardly aware of what was going on, 
the boat would stop near a sand-bar. The bodies of those 
who had died during the day were taken to the sand-bar, 
where they were quickly buried. What would have been 
the use of putting up even a pine board, for the rising 
waters would soon have washed it away? 


But this is not simply Western history. It is a part of 
the history of the North and the South, for those who came 
never to return were from those sections. In many an 
Eastern and Southern home it is as unknown to them as 
to the people of the West where sleep their dead on those 
old trails of the Western empire. 

The emigrants and gold-seekers were population in 
transit. Their burial-places were as fleeting. With the 
building of new towns and cities were established ceme- 
teries, but there still continued to be the thousands of 
unknown graves. A father, brother, husband, or son dies 
away from home. His name may not have been known, 
or if it was, the pencil-marks on the pine board soon lost 
their tracing in the weather-beaten changes that time 
brings. How often in my own experience in the mining 
camps I have seen men die far away from the tender and 
loving care of mother, wife, and sister. How terrible then 
is the struggle with death! The desire to live and to see 
the old home-faces again becomes a passion. In their 
delirium the passion becomes a reality. In their feverish 
dreams I have seen the dying miner in his cabin fancy he 
was home again. He talks to his wife, and with words of 
endearment tells her that he has found a fortune in the 
mines. I never knew of a miner who, in the delirium of 
death, when he Was talking of the mines, but what he was 
rich. He had struck the precious metal. He tells his 
people at home about it, and many a poor fellow has seem- 
ingly died content, founded on the fancy that he had a 
mine and that his wife and family would always have 
plenty. Out of many instances I will relate but one. 

A young man from Galena, 111., eleven years ago, was 
taken sick and soon the fever was upon him. He grew 
rapidly worse, but bravely fought the pale reaper, for he 
wanted to see home again. But courage was not equal to 


the task. The poor fellow had to die, and when the fever 
was at its height, he imagined that he was with his wife 
and baby. How tenderly he spoke to his young wife. He 
thought he had a rich mine, and told her where it was 
located. Then he imagined that his pillow was his baby, 
and that he was running his fingers through the child's 
curly hair, and would fondle the child up to his bosom. 
As I gazed on the bronze and weather-beaten faces of 
those present in the cabin, I saw tears come into the eyes 
of some when the dying man was murmuring child-love 
talk to the baby. 

At the time of the great Leadville rush, many came who 
never returned. Unknown, many of them sleep in their 
last resting place — in the gulches, on the mountain sides, 
and under the shadows of the pine trees and granite peaks. 
Exposure and not being prepared to guard against the 
sudden changes of climate caused many to die of pneu- 
monia and fevers. The writer went through a hard attack 
of typhoid pneumonia in one of the mining camps. After 
the worst was over and I was conscious again, one of the 
boys said to me, " Hello, pard, when you were in the fever 
you thought you had found enough gold mines to have 
bought out the Astors and Vanderbilts." 

The greatest number of deaths for a while seemed to 
come from what was known as the " sawdust gang." In 
the wild excitement of a new mining camp boom, people 
rush in by the hundreds and thousands. Many have only 
enough money to get there, and are compelled to sleep on 
the sawdust floor of the' saloons. Thus they caught cold, 
which turning into pneumonia often proved fatal. And 
the cowboys — how often on the long Texas-Montana 
drives they have dug a hasty grave and with the lassos 
lowered their dead pard into it. 

The sporting and theatrical element always have a swell 


funeral in the booming mining camps. The musicians 
from the dance-halls turn out, play dirges, and with due 
pomp and ceremony the funeral is conducted. The band 
returns from the new cemetery usually playing some lively 
air. The deceased has had a fine funeral and a good send- 
off, and now to business. The dance-halls are crowded 
again, the music goes on, and men and women gamble, 
dance, and drink, unmindful of what has occurred. 

Those were days of death, hell, and the grave. But 
what will not men undergo and dare for gold ? They have 
braved anything for it in the past, and will in the future. 
Friendships and home ties are broken, and in the wild, mad 
rush for fortune, thousands of gold hunters have lost their 
lives, and fill nameless and unknown graves in the far 
West. There is something of romance in the death of a 
humble prospector searching for wealth on the mountain 
side. Whether rich or poor the old gold hunter often sees 
wealth ahead in his last hours. And, perchance, through 
the fading light on the mountain peaks, may he not see a 
trail leading to a city where the streets are golden? Who 

In 1849 and 1850, all along the trail of the overland 
freighters' route, were scattered unknown graves, clear into 
California, my dear father being one of the pioneers who 
died and filled an unknown grave. In the fall of 1850, on 
the east bank of the San Joaquin River, he died of cholera, 
and was buried, and his grave is unknown. 

Another instance that I recall was of the death of one 
of the women of the party. She was buried at the South 
Pass, and they built a pen of cottonwood poles over the 
grave, placing her rocking chair to mark the spot, and 
which had her name carved on it. 



My son Benjamin and I worked as contractors almost a 
year in 1868, upon the building of the Union Pacific Rail- 
road, and we were present at the Promontory when the 
Union and Central Pacific roads met, and saw the gold 
and silver spikes driven into the California mahogany tie. 
It was regarded at that time as the greatest feat in railroad 
enterprise that had ever been accomplished in this or any 
other country, and it was a day that will be remembered 
during the lifetime of all that were present to witness this 
great iron link between the two oceans, Atlantic and 
Pacific. My calling as a freighter and overland stager 
having been deposed by the building of telegraph lines and 
the completion of a continental railway, I was compelled 
to look after a new industry, and as the silver mining at 
that time was just beginning to develop in Utah, I chose 
that as my next occupation, and my first experience in pros- 
pecting for silver mines was in Black Pine District north 
of Kelton some twenty-five miles, and I believe in the 
northwest corner of Utah. The district proved to be a 
failure, but leaving it, I met with Mr. R. C. Chambers, who, 
upon acquaintance, I found to be a very pleasant gentle- 
man. I left the camp and went to Salt Lake City, and 
wrote Mr. Chambers that I thought mines in the mount- 
ains were a better show for prospectors than the Black 
Pine District, and in a few days he came to Salt Lake City, 
and we then engaged in prospecting in the American Fork 
and Cottonwood districts, which lay in the Wasatch Mount- 



ains, twenty-five or thirty miles southeast of Salt Lake 
City. We had some success, but were not able to find any- 
thing in the way of bonanzas. We were connected with 
each other more or less until 1872, when a gentleman came 
to me one day in July of that year and told me that he had 
a bond upon McHenry mine, in Park District, and that the 
mine was a remarkably rich one. He desired me to tele- 
graph to Mr. George Hearst of San Francisco to come to 
Salt Lake City and go and see the mine. He said that he 
wanted me to send the message because he knew Mr. 
Hearst, with whom I had become acquainted through Mr. 
Chambers, would come for my telegram, when he would 
perhaps pay no attention to his. I sent the message, and 
received a reply forthwith that he would start at once for 
Salt Lake City. He arrived in due time, and we together 
went to the McHenry mine. Upon arrival we found it 
was not what was represented. We were thoroughly dis- 
appointed in our expectations. But while sitting, resting 
on a large boulder, a man by the name of Harmon Budden 
(who a day or two before had discovered and located the 
Ontario mine) approached us and spoke to Mr. Hearst. Mr. 
H. said he did not remember him, but Mr. Budden said 
he had previously met him in some mining camp in Nevada, 
and remarked that he had a prospect that he would like us 
to look at, only a short distance away. We went with him 
to the location. His shaft was then only about three feet 
deep, and when Mr. Hearst jumped down into the hole that 
he had dug, the surface of the ground was about as high 
as his waist, and he could jump in and out by putting his 
hands on the earth. I saw that he was very much interested 
in the appearance of the ore, which at that depth and at 
that time did not show more than a streak of eight or ten 
inches of mineral. I was at that time what they called a 
" tenderfoot," and had not been in the mining business long 


enough to be an expert, and to my inexperienced eye there 
was nothing unusual in the appearance of the ore, but Mr. 
Hearst did see something, and he determined then and 
there to purchase the Ontario prospect, and arranged when 
we returned to Salt Lake City with Mr. Chambers to keep 
a watch over its development, and purchase it when he saw 
an opportunity to do so. Mr. Budden and his associates 
asked $5,000 for the prospect when we were there, but Mr. 
Hearst thought it might be bought for less, as it was noth- 
ing but a prospect. But as the development of the mine 
progressed they raised their price for it $5,000 every time 
they were asked the terms, until at last it was up to $30,000, 
when Mr. Chambers purchased it for Mr. Hearst and his as- 
sociates in San Francisco, Messrs. Tebis and Haggin. Mr. 
R. C. Chambers was made superintendent of the mine, and 
has remained its manager from that period until the present, 
he being one of the stockholders, as well as the superintend- 
ent. The mine has grown and developed until it is one of 
the great mines of the Rocky Mountain region, and under 
Mr. Chamber's supervision has been extremely successful 
and profitable to its owners. Its output, up to 1892, has 
been over $26,000,000, over $12,000,000 of which has been 
paid in dividends to the stockholders. This showed that 
Mr. Hearst was an expert, for he was really one of the best 
judges of minerals I ever met. 

Utah has furnished the mining industry with some very 
remarkably rich silver mines, among them the Eureka, in 
Tintick District; the Eureka Centennial; the Chrisman 
Mammoth, a large gold and silver mine, and the Beck and 
Hornsilver, in the Frisco District; the Crescent; the Daly, 
in Park City District; and Ontario, as well as a great many 
smaller mines in the various parts of Utah. In Montana 
we have one of the greatest copper mines in America, 
called the Anaconda. It is the leading mine in Butte City, 


though they have many other remarkable mines in that 
district. Then there is the Granite Mountain, the Drum- 
lummen, in Marysville District, also in Montana. But the 
greatest output from any mine yet discovered was the Corn- 
stock, in Virginia City, Nev. It has produced more mill- 
ions of dollars than any other silver mine in the United 
States, its output being about one-third gold. The mining 
industry of the Rocky Mountain States and Territories is 
only in a fair way for development. The State of Colo- 
rado furnishes some very rich mining camps; also New 
Mexico and Arizona. 

In Colorado there is the Central City and Black Hawk, 
and the adjacent mining district, from which there has 
been millions of dollars in gold extracted; also the Lead- 
ville, which has produced its millions in silver and lead; 
the Aspen District, with its Molly Gibson and other 
immensely rich mines. Then there is the Crede District, 
with its Amethyst and others, now producing large amounts 
of silver and some gold; the Silverton, where there are a 
great many rich mines being opened; the Ouray District and 
Cripple Creek, a newly discovered gold camp, with various 
others in that State too numerous to mention. Nearly all 
of the entire mining camps of the State produce both gold 
and silver in greater or less proportions, and with more or 
less galena or lead contained in the ores with the precious 
metals, and this great mining industry, when it is allowed 
to go on as it did before the demonetization of silver, will 
prove to be among the greatest and best paying industries 
in the whole Rocky Mountain region. 

The Black Hills mining district of South Dakota is a very 
large mining camp, where millions and millions of dollars 
in gold and silver have been taken out, and where, no doubt, 
hundreds of millions more will be produced. 

Idaho has also proven to be a very rich State in mineral 


wealth, both gold and silver, with many places where gold 
is washed out of the sands and gravel of the valleys. 

Silver City, in New Mexico, has produced a great many 
millions in gold and silver, and at present seems to be a 
mining camp of great merit. 

The mining industry of the mountains has, of course, 
been the means of influencing the building of numerous 
railroads through and into some of the most difficult 
mountain ranges; in fact wherever there has been a flour- 
ishing mining district the railway people have found a way, 
with capital behind them, to build a road to it, and it has 
now become apparent that a rich mining camp will have a 
railway connection sooner or later, no matter how difficult of 
access it may be. I think the men and the companies who 
have had the building of roads through and into the Rocky 
Mountains, and the interests of the country at heart, are 
deserving of great praise. No doubt, as many camps are 
discovered, it will be necessary to build many more roads 
than are now in existence, without which the mining indus- 
try could not be conducted with profit. 

I may, in concluding this chapter on mining, speak of the 
great future there is for both Washington and Oregon as 
mineral States. 

I I I I I I 

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